A 72-year old Nigerian Journalist, Pa. Oga Tom Uhia, has been kept under secret detention by the Nigeria Police for three weeks.
Pa. Uhia’s arrest and detention, it was gathered, was ordered by the Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power, Chief Goddy Jeddy Agba, over a publication in the July 2020 edition of Power Steering Magazine, owned by the detained Journalist.
Despite several interventions from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), both from the National Secretariat and the FCT Council, with series of visits to the Honourable Minister, the security agents, acting on the instruction of Chief Agba, has kept the Septuagenarian Publisher in perpetual detention.
A family source disclosed to our Correspondent that, the Police had also severally denied the family Doctor access to the detained Journalist, amidst his deteriorating health.
It was gathered that, the Police pegged his bail conditions to payment of two million naira (N2m) and a level 16 officer in the federal civil service as surety.
“Despite meeting the bail conditions within 2 days, the Police continued detaining our grandfather and have refused to also charge him to court”, another family source disclosed.
Meanwhile, a fundamental human rights enforcement suit has been filed against the Honourable Minister by the Counsel to Pa. Uhia, Barrister Alex Oketa.
The suit, which also has DIG. Micheal Anthony Ogbizi, of the Force CIID, Abuja, ACP. Tahir Usman , ACP Gabriel Elaigwu, Rojas Elijah Elebel and the Nigeria Police Force as 2nd to 6th respondents, is before Justice Peter Affen of FCT High Court, Maitama.
In the originating summons, the applicant is asking the court to award him the sum of N100m for his detention from Tuesday, 13th to 15th October, 2020, and his continued detention from Friday, 16th October 2020, after the fulfillment of the bail conditions till date without his arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Pa. Oga is also demanding for another N10m as general damages for the mental trauma, unnecessary inconveniences, waste of time and expenses occasioned by the Applicant continued detention by the respondents.
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Meanwhile, no fewer than 4 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and scores of other legal practitioners have indicated interests in working towards securing the freedom of Pa. Uhia.
The pro bono legal framework which is coming at the instance of Idoma Lawyers, would be to strengthen the fundamental human rights enforcement suit currently before an FCT high court, one of the learned sage hinted our reporter, Saturday.
“The Police must not be allowed to mess up our judicial system. We are exploring every legally conceivable means to free our client and get for him a redress.
“Our fundamental rights application is pending and coming up on the 5th of November, 2020, before Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court (17), Maitama, Abuja”, another lawyer briefed