Segun Olatunji: NGE won't tolerate harassment, intimidation of editors —Scribe

Segun Olatunji

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has issued a stern warning against any form of intimidation or harassment directed at its members by government institutions while they carry out their legitimate duties. 

The General Secretary of the NGE, Iyobosa Uwagiaren, delivered this caution during an appearance on Kakaaki, the breakfast program of the African Independent Television (AIT) on Wednesday.

Uwagiaren, who was reacting to the continuous detention of Segun Olatunji, the editor of FirstNews, said the media in the country had in the last ten months enjoyed a healthy relationship with the present administration but the abduction of their colleague by men suspected to be members of the Nigerian Army seems to have punctured the cordial relationship.

He said efforts by the NGE to confirm the whereabouts of Olatunji from the military high command have not been successful, as they are yet to respond to their inquiry.

The NGE scribe also called on President Bola Tinubu to wade into the matter by ordering the military command to, without delay, release Olatunji or charge him to court if he had done anything against the law. 

He said, "From the account of the organization (FirstNews), the military went to his house in Lagos and took him away because of a story that they published. Since then, we have been trying to get in touch with the military authority to find out if he is actually with them. We have made frantic efforts to reach out to the military authority, but they are yet to respond.

"If truly he is with them, there is no need to keep him in detention for almost a week now. They should either release or charge him to court if he has committed any crime. So, I am using this opportunity to appeal to President Bola Tinubu to order his release. He should have the opportunity to defend himself in a court of law if he truly has committed any crime.

"We have enjoyed a good relationship with this government since it came on board, but to start with this, we won't tolerate it," he declared. 

Meanwhile, the Publisher of FirstNews, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, while giving an update on the incident on Wednesday, said they are still in search of their editor, Segun Olatunji, six days after he was whisked away by the gunmen, two of whom were dressed in military uniform. 

Iworiso-Markson, however, appreciated individuals and groups like the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigeria Union of Journalists for coming out strongly to demand for Olatunji's release.

"We are indeed grateful for intervention by the Guild of Editors and the NUJ, including the support and solidarity of numerous media houses, friends and professional colleagues in their efforts to ensure the release of Segun Olatunji. 

"Their support have been overwhelming and encouraging, but we are not there yet. We want to urge them not to relent in their support until Segun Olatunji is released and returned safely back to his family."

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