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Abducted editor asthmatic, family laments, NUJ demands release

The family of the abducted editor of FirstNews, Mr Segun Olatunji, has pleaded for his release, saying he is asthmatic.……CONTINUE READING>>>

Olatunji, a former Kaduna State correspondent of punch, was on Friday picked up in his Lagos home in Iyana Odo, Abule Egba area of Lagos.

He said said to have been whisked away by 10 armed men, and to date, nothing has been heard of his whereabouts.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, his wife, Mrs Oluwatosin Olatunji, said her husband also had an ulcer, adding that he was a calm and diligent journalist.

Fifty-three-year-old Oluwatosin, a mother of five , said, “My husband is diligent in his work; he is not troublesome, he is always engrossed in his job and works till midnight. He doesn’t go to parties, he doesn’t drink.

“The government should help me; I have been weak and sick since he was abducted. They should bring him back alive because he has some health issues. He uses an inhaler, and he has an ulcer too. Well-meaning Nigerians and the government should help me bring out my husband alive. The government should have mercy on me because we can’t even say anything about his whereabouts.  He is my friend, confidant, father, everything.”

Similarly, the Nigeria Union of Journalists demanded the editor’s immediate and unconditional release.

A statement signed by the union’s Assistant National Secretary, Akorede Opeyemi, on Tuesday, described Olatunji’s abduction as another threat to freedom of the press.

“The disappearance of Segun Olatunji, the editor of First News newspapers, is another sad reminder of the danger being faced daily by journalists in the line of duty.

“Although it is not clear which agency of government was responsible for the arrest of the journalist, we believe that freedom of the press and opinion remain defining elements of the rule of law and democracy.

“For this reason, the Nigerian government needs to work to protect freedom of the press and freedom of movement for media professionals. The safety and security of journalists are very important.

“Actions like this are unacceptable and are attempts to intimidate journalists and force them into self-censorship. The professional work of journalists is clearly in the public interest, and acts of impunity against them should not be condoned.”

The NUJ called for the immediate and unconditional release of Olatunji, adding that the demand for his release was in the interest of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law.

FirstNews, on its platform, urged the military high command and security agencies to provide immediate clarity on Olatunji’s whereabouts and the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

“There has been no response from the military or any of the security agencies regarding their awareness or involvement in his arrest.

“Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Publisher of FirstNews, said that despite attempts to contact him, Olatunji’s phone remains switched off, and neither his family nor FirstNews’ management has received any communication regarding the reason for his abduction,” the newspaper said.

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