IGP Ibrahim Idris
The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) has called for the unconditional and immediate release of Timothy (Tim) Elombah, the journalist and Editor of United Kingdom (UK) based online news platform, Elombah.com said to have been detained on the orders of Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris.
In a statement, Emmanuel Asiwe, Vice-President of OPAN, said “Tim has been held for the eleventh day now since his arrest alongside his brother Daniel Elombah, a UK based Lawyer and Publisher of Elombah.com, in the wee hours of New Year Day in their family home in Nnewi, Anambra State on the orders of IGP Ibrahim in a gestapo operation by about 15 officers of the Federal Police Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
“Despite an order by a magistrate court in Mpape, Abuja, on Tuesday January 2, to keep Timothy in police custody for seven days to allow them carry out further investigation as requested by them, with an order to bring him back to the court on January 9, 2018, the IGP and Police have refused to do so, instead they have continued to incarcerate Timothy for no just cause.
“The police say they are holding Timothy because Elombah.com published an opinion piece titled: “IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” that they argue defamed the IGP and the police force. The said article was written by one Ebowei Dickson and it was widely published on multiple websites.
“We do not understand how a civil case of ‘defamation’ turned into a criminal case in Nigeria, where the IGP is both the accuser and defender in his own case.
“ The continuous detention of Timothy Elombah and harassment of Daniel Elombah by the police is simply an attempt to muzzle the press ahead of 2019 and the arrest of the Elombah brothers is testing the waters ahead of the election. We will not fret or be cowed!
“We call on the IGP and the Nigeria Police to release Tim Elombah unconditionally or charge him to a competent court of law.”