The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, Nigeria’s premier association of digital/new media publishers, has launched a ‘Free Press Defence Fund’ to help not only Timothy Elombah but any other incarcerated online journalist.
This was made known in a press statement issued by OPAN which revealed that the association has already launched multiple suits against the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris in Nnewi, Abuja and Lagos in the Police vs Elombah Brothers matter.
THEWILL recalls that Daniel Elombah, publisher of Elombah.com and United Kingdom based lawyer, was arrested by officers attached to the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigerian police on ‘orders from above’ in the wee hours of New Year Day.
Daniel, who is also the General Secretary of the Online Publishers Association, OPAN, was arrested alongside his brothers from their family house in Edoji-Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State.
The officers who stormed the compound in a commando-styled operation refused to give reasons why the journalist was being arrested as his wife, two kids and aged mother watched in horror.
Daniel who was later released subsequently filed a N2 billion lawsuit against the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, and IGP Idris at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
However, Timothy Elombah, editor of elombah.com, still remains in detention and all attempts to inquire the reason for their arrest proved abortive, as the officials told them that they would be told at the station.
It was later discovered that the online journalists were arrested over an article titled ‘IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies’, written by Ebiowei Dickson on social media network, Instagram and believed to have been published on elombah.com.
Displeased with the development, OPAN issued a statement through its President, Austyn Ogannah condemning the arrest of the online journalists.
Timothy has been remanded in police custody for seven (7) days pending the completion of the police investigation and filing a former charge.
Meanwhile, Oral Application for bail of Tim Elombah has been moved and court adjourned to Tuesday, January 9, 2018, for the ruling.
To this end, OPAN launched the ‘Free Press Defence Fund’ to help not only Timothy but any other incarcerated online journalist.
“This is a battle for all Nigerian journalists in defence of freedom of information and the press,” OPAN stated.
“Anyone interested could contribute to: Online publishers Association of Nigeria, UBA Plc, Ac No: 1019293375.”