The literal abduction of Mr Ebere Wabara, Associate Editor of The Sun Newspapers in Lagos on Friday by policemen from Abia State Command is a crossing of the line from civility to despotism,says the Nigerian Guild of Editors,NGE
Mr Wabara, who doubles as Special Assistant, Media, to former Abia State governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has since been taken to Umuahia, where he is to be arraigned on charges of sedition.
Aishatu Sule,deputy president of NGE in a statement said ,”We are completely stupefied at the conduct of the Abia State Police, which has decided to exhume a colonial law from our statute book at a time like this. It tends to indicate that while the rest of the country is moving forward, the police in Abia are marooned in an inglorious past.
According to Aishatu, “ If Mr Wabara has broken any law of the land through his writings, the decent thing to do is to invite him to make explanations. If such explanations are unsatisfactory, he should then be charged to court. But to storm his come in commando fashion, and whisk him hundreds of kilometres away smacks of a country yet to come to the realities of democratic rule and civility. We cannot afford to remain consigned in such inglorious morass.”
The Nigerian Guild of Editors calls for the immediate release of Mr Wabara, and if he then needs to answer any question, it should be done according to civil and decent norms. The media, alongside other patriotic institutions, fought for the democracy the country enjoys today. We, therefore, call on President Goodluck Jonathan, the Inspector-General of Police, M.D Abubakar, and other well- meaning Nigerians to intervene, and ensure that sanity prevails,the statement said.
Also, Nigeria Union of Journalists,NUJ has called for the unconditional release of Wabara.NUJ said “The arrest and detention of veteran Journalist, Ebere Wabara by the Police on the orders of the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji clearly shows that Nigeria, after about 15 years of uninterrupted democracy, is yet to move away from the anti democratic legal practices that characterized its former military regimes, where indiscriminate arrests and prolonged detentions were the order of the day.
The Associate Editor of The Sun Newspapers, was arrested yesterday in his house in Lagos, detained briefly at the Aguda Police station also in Lagos before being transferred to Abia State and detained, to be charged with sedition.
NUJ said “We are further worried that this arrest and detention runs contrary to common sense and the law. It is also our contention that no responsible government, especially the one likes ours that continues to pride itself on its democratic credentials should be seen to be arresting and detaining its citizens indiscriminately. If this act of impunity is allowed to continue, none of us will feel free and secure.
“It is unfortunate that the government of Abia state had openly shown its bias in this case as everything conceivable is being done to frustrate the release of Ebere Wabara and to prolong his detention while his family continues to be psychologically traumatized.
NUJ in as statement by its National Secretary Shuaibu Usman Leman said “We vehemently protest over and repudiate the actions of government and authorities who make a mockery of the freedom of expression and commitments to pluralism and democracy when they encourage a culture of impunity and lawlessness against the media.
“Holding Journalists like Wabara clearly carries the imprint of Military regimes, and we hasten to caution our Leaders who are beneficiaries of the struggle by the media to entrench democracy to avoid such acts of impunity if we desires to succeed in our quest for national development, and the import of this must never be lost on such Leaders. Release Wabara unconditionally and the time to stop such acts of impunity is long overdue”NUJ said.
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