MRA seeks release of detained journalist, Halilu
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) yesterday called for the release of journalist and former Political Editor of Daily Trust newspaper, Mr. Ibrahim Dan Halilu, detained by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
It said that the Federal Government must compensate him for the violation of his rights.Halilu was arrested on Monday, August 5, 2019, at about 2.30 a.m. by DSS operatives who raided his home in Kaduna and had since been held in custody.
MRA contended that the action of the intelligence agency was a breach of the Constitution and Nigeria’s obligations under International Human Rights Law.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, the group said: “It is now over one week since Mr. Halilu was arrested and being held in unlawful and unconstitutional detention as no charge has been filed against him or has he been arraigned before any court of law as required by Section 35 (4) and (5) of the Constitution. We strongly condemn such arrogant violation of the Constitution and careless disregard for the rights of a citizen.
“MRA learnt that after his arrest and while in custody, Mr. Halilu was asked to write a statement on his connection with Omoyele Sowore’s political movement that called for nationwide protests from August 5, 2019 under the hash-tag “#RevolutionNow,” which he did, making it clear to the DSS that he had no link with either Sowore or his political movement.”
Ojo, who stated that the DSS had clearly been unable to charge Halilu before any court because it has no evidence linking him with the commission of any offence but has chosen to punish him for criticising the performance of the government, an act that cannot amount to a crime, further said: “We call on the government and its security agencies to follow the path of constitutionality. Those who derive their authority from the Constitution and exercise their powers under it have a profound duty to strictly and scrupulously comply with its provisions, otherwise they may unwittingly destroy the basis of their authority and powers when ordinary citizens become motivated to follow their example and similarly cast aside the Constitution.”
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