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Nigeria: Civil society group want detained magazine publisher released

Nigeria: Civil society group want detained magazine publisher released

Nigeria

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in Nigeria is calling for the release on bail, of a magazine publisher Yomi Olomofe who has been detained by the Police.

Olomofe, publisher of the community magazine, Prime, was detained on Thursday evening in Lagos after men he had accused of beating him in June 2015, in turn accused him of assaulting and attempting to extort money from them, the CPJ said in a statement.

Olomofe and McDominic Nkpemenyie, a correspondent for the state-funded Tide Newspaper were reportedly attacked on June 25, 2015 by more than 15 men, beaten and left unconscious while investigating allegations that customs officers at Nigeria’s border town of Seme (with Benin) were involved in smuggling.

... arresting magazine publisher Yomi Olomofe for beating the men he says beat him to a pulp is nothing short of obscene. Rather than blaming the messenger, the police should energetically pursue those responsible for the crime.

According to Akin Osunsusi, lawyer for the publisher, the police are yet to arrest anyone for the attack on the journalists despite filing two separate complaints to the Lagos state Police Commissioner and Inspector General of Police on June 30, 2015 and July 1, 2015 respectively. Olomofe is said to have clearly identified his attackers including the customs officers who did not stop the attack.

In an interesting turn of events, the men identified as having attacked the journalists, in October 2015 filed a counter complaint, accusing Olomofe of assaulting them and attempting to extort money from them – an accusation the publisher has denied.

The West African representative of the CPJ, Peter Nkanga said in a statement “arresting magazine publisher Yomi Olomofe for beating the men he says beat him to a pulp is nothing short of obscene. Rather than blaming the messenger, the police should energetically pursue those responsible for the crime.”

A Lagos State Criminal Investigations Department officer, named only as Aminu, contacted by the CPJ on March 8, said he had repeatedly invited the customs officers for questioning about the incident adding he has even written to the head office of the service in Abuja but “being service officers, I cannot just arrest them,” he said.

The State CID according to the CPJ said it has been instructed to forward Olomofe’s file to the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) in Alagbon where Olomofe is held.

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