Governor Nasir el-Rufa’I of Kaduna state has ordered the arrest and detention of a journalist based in the state, Jacob Dickson, for reporting how he was pelted with stones by youths in the state.
Dickson was arrested last Friday and has remained in detention according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday.
Dickson’s trouble started when he reported eyewitnesses’ accounts of how youths had pelted Governor el-Rufa’I with rocks as he tried to broker peace between residents of two adjacent neighbourhoods.
The CPJ in the statement from its Dakar office in Senegal on Wednesday said Dickson has been held in pre-trial detention on incitement charges since Friday.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should not let state officials make a mockery of his laudable commitments to press freedom even as he utters them.
“We call on state officials to drop the charges against Jacob Onjewu Dickson and release him without delay,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director, Robert Mahoney, urged.
According to the statement, Police invited Dickson, a reporter for the news website Authentic News Daily, to the Kaduna State Police station on Thursday to discuss on April 27.
CPJ said that Nigerian Police arrested Dickson after questioning him at the station in the central Nigerian town of Kaduna on Friday and then they took him to the Kaduna Magistrates Court, charged him with incitement and returned him to custody the same day.
The CPJ faulted the Minister of Culture and Information, Lai Mohammed, who claimed that not a single journalists is being detained or harassed in Nigeria during a meeting of the Federation of African Journalists hosted by the National Union of Journalists in Abuja.
Dickson’s trial is scheduled to begin May 12.