Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) has condemned the arrest and detention of a Kaduna based Nigerian journalist, Achadu Gabriel Idibia.
A press release signed by Iliya Kure, AMDF Founder for the Press Freedom Surveillance Team, recently said the Foundation had closely followed the events leading to the arrest and detention of Achadu Gabriel Idibia, a staff of Daybreak Newspapers stationed in Kaduna, Nigeria.
Idibia was detained over a report published on September 24th titled “Kaduna Hajj camp, a national shame, men, women sleep together in overcrowded hall – investigation.”
The report, which has video evidence and quoted sources supporting it, exposed the deteriorated and poor state of the camp and the plight of Muslim pilgrims at the Mando Hajj Camp, Kaduna.
Earlier, on September 26th, 2023, Mr. Idibia was arrested and detained at a facility run by Special Police Unit “Operation Yaki” over the news report – he was released on bail signed by a colleague bearing Amos Mathew of the New Nigeria Newspapers, reports revealed.
AMDF noted that the reason behind the arrest was alleged “intimidation of the Executive Secretary” of the Pilgrims Agency.
The Emir of Zazzau was recently heard clearly on Voice of America, Hausa Service radio, condemning the handling of the last Hajj exercise by Kaduna State officials.
It is also on record that the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) has listed Kaduna among states sabotaging Hajj exercise. So, the Executive Secretary should not vent his anger on Idibia.
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The arrest and harassment of Gabriel Idibia is a grave violation of human rights and a deliberate attempt to gag the press.
AMDF insists that all charges against Idibia be dropped. Authorities must desist from all forms of harassment and intimidation of journalists.
We condemn every form of abuse of office and the obvious attempt to subjugate journalists by any group or individual. We believe that there can be no meaningful development without the watchful eye of the press that seeks to hold power to account and ensure that every sector and component of human development receives the needed attention by the government and its agencies.
We call on the Nigeria Police to align with journalists as the voice of the voiceless to ensure without compromise, the safety of Nigerians, especially journalists without fear or favour.