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#FreeEzimakor: BBC Journalist Leads Protest Against Arrest Of Independent’s Bureau Chief

Daily Independent logo Daily Independent 2018-03-05 Sodiq Adekunle

The Nigeria reporter for British Broadcast Commission (BBC), Stephanie Hegarty, on Monday led a protest against the arrest of the Abuja Chief Bureau Officer of Independent Newspapers, Tony Ezimakor.

Ezimakor, who has been detained by the Department of State Services since Wednesday, was yet to be charged.

Ezimakor had willingly walked into the head office of the DSS in Abuja in response to an invitation from the security agency when he was detained and denied medication despite being a hypertensive person.

Following his continuous detention, Nigerians and journalists around the world have taken over the social media, especially Twitter, to protest his arrest.

The online protest intensified when Hegarty faulted the Independent’s journalist’s arrest by describing it as “worrying”.

“This is very worrying – Daily Independent’s Abuja Bureau Chief Still in DSS Detention over reporting on ransom paid for Chibok girls,” the BBC journalist tweeted.

Few minutes after her lamentation over the arrest, various reactions followed through a campaign movement – #FreeEzimakor.

Reacting, Nnamdi Abana‏ @talktonnamdi, expressed displeasure, saying: “Military still in charge but with Agbada. Too bad the media has been gagged.”

Another Twitter user, CSO‏ @BossCommodore, regretted that Nigeria lacked respect for rule of law.

He tweeted: “This is one of the many reasons Nigeria will never progress. No true democracy. You can’t even exercise your rights without fear of clampdown by security agents. Many have died this way and they never got justice. We made progress under the last administration but it’s back to square one!”

Ejiro Okaka‏ @OkakaEjiro added that “That is the problem we face daily in Nigeria – using government agencies for personal interest in a democratic system. This will not stop us from defending what’s right.”

Other commentators argued that the incident has proved that Nigeria was being ruled by an alleged dictator.

One of them, Onoriste‏ @onoritse17, said: “Didn’t you know that we are not in a Democracy and there is no Freedom of Information in Nigeria? People get invited, detained and interrogated for speaking the truth under this dictator’s regime.”

Ezimakor, whose wife and children have been affected psychologically, was arrested for exposing how Swiss-mediated deal revived Boko Haram.

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