Daniel Elombah, the United Kingdom lawyer and publisher that was arrested in the earlier hours of new year in Anambra by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squard (SARS) of the Nigerian Police, has been released with conditions.
Despite his release, Elombah is to report to police station tomorrow morning, and his editor, Tim is still in their custody with alleged plot to keep him in detention for the next 20 days.
Whilst the SARS men who whisked Mr. Elombah away while having holiday with his family maintained that the arrest was an “order from above”, refusing to offer any explanation, the truth later surfaced that the arrest was not unconnected with an opinon article published on the medium, ebombah.com, owned by the journalist cum lawyer.
The article has direct bearing on the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, from an opinion writer, Ebiowei Dickson, with headline: “IGP IBRAHIM IDRIS’S UNENDING BAGGAGE OF CONTROVERSIES”. The article was published on elombah.com as well as many other mediums.
One question that begs for answer is why the focus on Elombah and his team, since the opinion was published on many medium. Premium Times, Opinion Nigeria, Politics Nigeria amongst other outfits had published the article on their platforms. Why special interest in Elombah?
The answer might not be far-fetched, as this might be a crack-down attempt on digital media, to intimidate the press and undermine its freedom.
Every concerned Nigerians would have been shocked to their marrow with SARS involvement in inhuman treatment of suspects, especially after the promised reform by police force following heavy clamouring for the unit to be scrapped. SARS had been accused of extra-judicial and radical way of executing their operations.
The truth still remains that one might not really need to blame the SARS officers, as the flute can only produce sounds to the measure of air you blow in it. The unit has been condemned already in the sight of the public and perhaps on its way out, and little wonder the “order from above” would not bother using them as instrument to execute dirty deals, since dirt cannot be dirtier.
Meanwhile, Presidency had vowed to allow freedom of press, saying it would not gag the media.
This was the position of Mr. Femi Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, last August during the Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, that “this government is not interested in muzzling the media in anyway. We are committed to freedom of speech.
“Media should be positively critical, media should be responsible. Count this government out of muzzling the media,” Adesina stressed.