Journalists Don’t Have Immunity; They Can Be Arrested—Police

Says while journalists can report wrongdoing, they should ensure their information is accurate.
Muyiwa Adejobi, Public Relations Officer
Muyiwa Adejobi, Public Relations OfficerX

The Nigerian Police Force denies accusations of targeting journalists to limit press freedom through the amended Cybercrime Act 2024. 

The Force claims that journalists are not above the law and can be investigated if accused of a crime, just like anyone else.

The nation has seen a series of suppressions of journalists due to the implementation of the new Cybercrime Act by police operatives. 

The recent enforcement of the Cybercrime Act has ensnared prominent journalists like Segun Olatunji (former First News editor), Daniel Ojukwu (a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism), Dayo Aiyetan (the Executive Director of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting), and Nurudeen Akewushola (an investigative journalist with the ICIR). 

The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, while commenting during a joint briefing by the Security, Defence, and Response agencies, organised by the Strategic Communications Interagency Policy Committee, in Abuja, stated that the police were not restricting journalists from performing their duties.

The police spokesperson denied using the Cybercrime Act to silence journalists or limit freedom of speech. He clarified that while journalists can report wrongdoing, they should ensure their information is accurate.

Adejobi added that reporters had no immunity and could be apprehended or invited by the police.

The force public relations officer said, "that someone who is a journalist does not grant him immunity over some things. You are criminally liable once an offence has been laid against you, and the police must take it up". 

The police emphasise that they have various laws to prosecute people, not just the Cybercrime Act. They also clarify the difference between arrest and abduction and criticise the media for using the wrong term. Finally, they explain the process for bail and how invitations for questioning are courtesies, not legal requirements.

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