International Press Institute (IPI) Nigeria has noted with concern the arrest, detention and subsequent arraignment before a magistrate court in Bauchi of the publisher of WikkiTimes online newspaper, Mr. Haruna Mohammed and a reporter, Mr. Idris Kamal, by the police in Bauchi.
The journalists claimed that they were physically assaulted while they were in detention.
The offences of criminal conspiracy, defamation of character and cyber stalking with which the journalists have now been charged are not only unfortunate, but also show that the police are using bogus crimes with which to continue the harassment and intimidation of the journalists.
A statement issued by the IPI Nigeria Secretary, Ahmed I. Shekarau, condemned the practice of using the police by civilians to harass and intimidate journalists, advising that “anyone who is aggrieved by any news item published by WikkiTimes should seek redress in court instead of using the police or other security agents to harass the journalists”.
The body said further that Nigeria’s legal system has made adequate provisions for protection of reputation.
“IPI Nigeria demands the withdrawal and discontinuation of the vexatious charges filed against the two journalists with immediate effect”, the statement said.
The IPI in a statement signed by its Secretary, Ahmed I. Shekarau, also called on the Inspector General of Police to call the Bauchi State police command to order.