Nigerian journalists under the auspices of Concerned Journalists Forum, have cried to President Muhammad Buhari to intervene and set free a 72-year-old, Oga Tom Uhia, from police detention.
Uhia, a native of Benue State, has been under secret detention for 25 days over a publication against Minister of State for Power, Mr Jeddy Agba, in the July 2020 edition of his Power Steering Magazine.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Comrade Yemi Itodo, who spoke on behalf of the group, expressed worry over the deteriorating health condition of the septuagenarian, calling for his immediate release or arraignment.
Itodo also tackled the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, who is the immediate younger brother to the minister's mother, over the continuous detention of the journalist.
"The only crime this septuagenarian committed was that, as an investigative journalist, he dared to uncover a lot of frauds and alleged shady deals of a much younger Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jeddy Agba, while he was a top management member of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the last dispensation.
"Pa Uhia was arrested and detained on the order of Mr Agba. The Nigeria Union of Journalists both national and FCT Council have visited the minister repeatedly and pleaded that the old man should be released or charged to court. But the minister has refused to let go.
"He is currently being held at the Force CIID, area 10 Garki Abuja, where the immediate younger brother to Mr Jeddy Agba's mother, Anthony Ogbizi, is holding sway as the Deputy Inspector-General of Police."
He added that despite fulfilling the bail conditions stipulated by the police, the publisher was still being held without having access to medical facilities.
He said, "At a time that Nigerians all over the world are clamouring for a reform of the Nigeria Police Force, it is very appalling that the leadership of the Force is not ready to embrace civility or any form of reform.
"More appalling, too, is the hypocrisy of Nigerian Government. Instead of learning from the ugly scenarios that engraved the whole of October 2020 across the country, the Nigerian Government is still paying lip service to ending police brutality. The government claimed it has ended SARS but the brutality and impunity of the police remains unchecked.
"We also call on President Muhammad Buhari to prevail on his Minister of State for Power to let go of the journalist, so as to reunite with his family.”