After 2 Years In Detention, Detained Journalist Regains Freedom

After 2 Years In Detention, Detained Journalist Regains Freedom
Detained journalist Jones Abiri has regained his freedom
Detained journalist Jones Abiri has regained his freedom

After over two years in detention where he was held incommunicado, Niger Delta-based journalist, Jones Abiri, has regained his freedom.
Abiri who was detained by the State Security Service (SSS) without trial over allegations that he had links with armed militants in the troubled was released on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, after a lot of agitation by Nigerians, journalists and human rights advocates including Amnesty International who mounted serious pressure on the government to free the journalist.
Despite local and international pressure, Nigerian officials including Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had claimed that Abiri was not a journalist and tried to justify his illegal detention.
Abiri, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Weekly Source Newspaper was eventually granted bail by an Abuja court after he was charged to court following public outcry.
After he was arrested, the Department of State Service (DSS) had announced in a press statement Abiri was a known militant warlord who and leader of the Joint Revolutionary Council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, a group responsible for bombing oil installations, kidnappings and sundry crimes in the Niger Delta.
The DSS statement had read:
“In furtherance to ongoing tactical operations to degrade the capabilities and hide-outs of criminal gangs/syndicates across the Federation, this Service wish to apprise the general public of recent successful progress recorded so far in the drive.
On 21st July 2016, one Jones ABIRI aka General Akotebe DARIKORO was arrested by this Service in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
DARIKORO is the leader of the Joint Revolutionary Council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), which has been furthering separatist tendencies in connivance with other criminal gangs in the Niger Delta region.
DARIKORO, who operates under the nom-de-guerre ‘General-Kill and Bury’, has confessed and owned up to some criminal activities committed by the JNDLF, which include:
1. The vandalism of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) trunk line in Ogboinbiri, Southern Ijaw LGA and bombing of oil pipeline belonging to Shell Development Company (SPDC) at Brass creek on 8th July 2016, all in Bayelsa State;
2. Threat messages to the management of NAOC and SPDC demanding for the payment of the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500m), and Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N250m) respectively;
3. Threat to launch missile attacks against selected targets in Abuja including the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock;
4. DARIKORO is also the mastermind of the recently circulated hoax of a planned overthrow of President Muhammadu BUHARI, GCFR, by the military.”
However, in ordering his release from detention, Magistrate Chukwuemeka Nweke threatened to strike out the case against Abiri following the absence of the main counsel to the Department of State Services (DSS) at the court proceedings.
In his ruling, Nweke said the case would be struck out if proof of evidence is not served by Friday.
“The reasons advanced by the prosecution are not compelling. This court is not a holding cell. I am surprised that the proof of evidence have not been served on the defendant.”

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