Reactions have continued to trail the arrest of Daniel Elombah the publisher of Elombah.com an online newspaper which started publication in the year 2009. Daniel and his younger brother Timothy were arrested in the wee hours of Monday January 1, 2018 by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad at Nnewi in Anambra state.
According to news reports, the duo were arrested in response to a publication made on their website that attacked the inspector general of police. However the online publishers association of Nigeria (OPAN) has described the arrest of Daniel as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government plan to suppress press freedom.
In a statement released yesterday by the group President Austyn Ogannah, he said “OPAN views the assault of Elombah.com as part of a sustained plot by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to intimidate and suppress press freedom, we wish to remind this administration that we are in a democratic dispensation. The practice of using security agencies to harass journalist, especially those operating in digital has to stop.”
The arrest of Daniel Elombah is one too many for the Buhari administration. As it was in the first coming of Buhari so it is at the moment, from 2015 till date, several journalist have come under attack and have faced harassed while carrying out their jobs by security agencies mainly the Nigerian Police and the department of state security services.
Last year PUNCH newspapers Olalekan Adetayo was thrown out of the Aso villa for writing a story the President’s chief security officer was not comfortable with, another journalist was arrested in Kaduna State for making comments the state Governor found unflattering to his office, the office of Premium Times Newspaper also came under attack last year.
It doesn’t ends there as the websites of some online newspapers were deleted and rendered ineffective by the office of the National Security Adviser. These and many more infringements on the public’s right to information have made the Buhari’s administration an anti press one. The government has to stop.