KWARA, Nigeria – Two renowned journalists have been arrested by detectives of Kwara State Police Command.
It was learnt that the journalists; Gidado Yushua and Adekoya, were arrested on Tuesday as suspected policemen in plain-clothed stormed their residence in Abuja.
Gidado, who is also the Editor of the YouthsDigest, was arrested on Tuesday night and first taken to Wuye District Police Station after the plain-clothed Police officers stormed his residence in Abuja.
Four detectives, early Wednesday (today) morning, left the Wuye Police Station with Gidado and Adekoya in a blue vehicle, en route Ilorin for further interrogation
They were arrested for publishing an investigative news story titled, “Inside Kwara factory where Indian hemp smoking is ‘legalized”.
The factory, Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industry in Ilorin, is allegedly owned by a former acting governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Sarah Alade.
The report, which was published on 19 May 2018, was authored by one Mr. Alfred Olufemi, an award-winning campus journalist from one of the premier universities in the country.
It stated that Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industry tolerated the smoking of cigarettes as well as Indian hemp by workers saddled with the responsibility of loading and off-loading processed and unprocessed grains in trucks without being sanctioned
The firm refused to respond to the author’s inquiry on the disturbing situation after he had put several calls and text messages to the industry’s hotline.
In a telephone chat with PRNigeria, lawyer to the arrested NewsDigest’s staff, Barrister Yunus Abdulsalam, said it defies logic that something that happened last year May will be resuscitated now, a year and a half after the report was published by the newspaper.
He said: “This is a sad commentary and an ugly chapter in the life of campus journalism in Nigeria. This kind of illegality is not a good omen for campus journalism. It is also a traumatic and horrifying experience for NewsDigest and YouthsDigest, as a credible online media platform to promote activities of budding writers and young journalists.
“Both NewsDigest and YouthsDigest are two notable media organizations that have created competitiveness among campus journalists. And as a matter of fact, the author of the investigative report, and other young writing talents who often contribute stories for the two mediums are reporters with untainted integrity.
“Thus, they are being engaged with by other credible and frontline media houses such as Premium Times, The Nation, ICIR, Blueprint and The Cable among others to serve as their campus correspondents and reporters. Had it been they are known for writing fictitious or libelous stories, would they have been engaged by the mainstream media establishments?
“The lawyer insisted that the alleged ‘defamatory’ offense is one that permits both the NewsDigest’s Editor and webmaster to be granted bail, as such the police should do the needful without further ado.
“The alleged offense is not even one that necessitates arresting them. In fact, what the police did by arresting them can be compared to using a sledgehammer to kill an ant.”