Nigerian authorities should immediately release magazine publisher Yomi Olomofe on bail, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.
Police detained Olomofe Thursday evening in Lagos, after men he had accused of severely beating him in June 2015 alleged the publisher had assaulted and attempted to extort money from them, Olomofe and his lawyer told CPJ by telephone.
On June 25, 2015, Olomofe, who publishes the monthly community magazine Prime Magazine, and McDominic Nkpemenyie, a correspondent with the state-funded Tide Newspaper, were investigating allegations that customs officers at Seme, on Nigeria’s border with Benin, were complicit in smuggling, when more than 15 men attacked the two journalists, Olomofe told CPJ.
CPJ said in a June 30, 2015, complaint to the Lagos state police commissioner, and a July 1, 2015, complaint to the inspector general of police, Olomofe identified his attackers and customs officers who had not intervened to stop the attack, lamenting that The Police has not charged anyone for assaulting the journalists.
“Arresting a magazine publisher Yomi Olomofe for beating the men he says beat him to a pulp is nothing short of obscene,” Peter Nkanga, CPJ’s West Africa representative, said. “Rather than blaming the messenger, police should energetically pursue those responsible for the crime.”
Deji Elumoye, the chairman of the Lagos state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, told CPJ that police in Alagbon had refused to grant Olomofe bail on Thursday, and that representatives of the union had not been allowed to see him in custody.
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