BEVERLY HILLS, January 01, (THEWILL) – Daniel Elombah, the detained London-based online publisher has been released by the Police force following his arrest and transportation to police headquarters in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in Nnewi, Anambra State by the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
His freedom was courtesy of sustained pressure on the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim idris and the Nigerian government by members of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, Opan, as well as bloggers, public affairs commentators, human rights and press freedom groups.
The Editor of the news website, Tim Elombah, who was also arrested however still remains in police custody without any explanation as to why they were arrested in the first instance.
Dozens of phone calls were placed to the direct number of the IGP on New Year Day after his private phone number was obtained and made public by OPAN, demanding the immediate release of the Elombahs after about 15 SARS personnel raided their family compound in a Gestapo-like operation, firing sporadically into space and brutalizing them.
The officers said they were acting based on “Orders from Above” as they handcuffed and bundled them into one of the vans and made their way back to Abuja.
Daniel serves as General Secretary of OPAN.
OPAN President and Publisher of THEWILL, Austyn Ogannah, said the raid and arrest is an attempt to intimidate and harass the online press. “The police has still not given a reason for the forceful arrest of the journalists on the first day of the new year. They were never invited for questioning! What was the rush to arrest, if not to satisfy sadistic and wicked lusts of veiled interests? Were they planning to overthrow the government? Why disrupt their peace on New Year Day? OPAN is determined to resist any move to intimidate the online press,” he said, adding that lawyers have been briefed to challenge the police in court Tuesday and free the editor.