The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Saturday called for the unconditional release of the Associate Editor of the Sun Newspapers, Mr. Ebere Wabara.
“Release Wabara unconditionally and the time to stop such acts of impunity is long overdue,” a statement issued by the National Secretary of NUJ, Mr. Shuaibu Leman in Abuja, said.
Similarly, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has also called for the immediate release of Wabara, describing his the arrest of by the police from Abia as crossing the line from civility to despotism.
The NGE in statement issued by the Deputy President of NGE, Ms. Aishatu Sule, called on President Goodluck Jonathan, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and other well-meaning Nigerians to intervene and ensure that sanity prevails.
Wabara, a veteran journalist, was said to have been arrested at his residence in Lagos on March 28, allegedly on the orders of Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia State.
Saturday’s statement also said: “The arrest and detention of Ebere Wabara by the police on the orders of the Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia clearly shows that Nigeria is still in its undemocratic periods.
“After about 15 years of uninterrupted democracy, we are yet to move away from the anti democratic practises that characterised former military regimes.
“We are further worried that this arrest and detention runs contrary to common sense and the law.
“It is our contention that no responsible government should be seen to be arresting and detaining its citizens indiscriminately,” the statement said.
It stressed that if this act of impunity was allowed to continue, no Nigerian would be free, adding” “It is unfortunate that the government of Abia had openly shown its bias in this case as everything conceivable is being done to frustrate the release of Wabara.
“We say no to government who make a mockery of the freedom of expression and democracy when they encourage a culture of impunity and lawlessness against the media’’, it stated.
The statement said that detaining journalists at this level of development clearly showed the imprint of military regime and cautioned leaders, who are beneficiaries of the media struggling to entrench democracy, to avoid such acts of impunity if Nigeria desired to succeed in our quest for national development.
On its part, the NGE said: “We are completely stupefied at the conduct of the police in Abia, which has decided to exhume a colonial law from our statute books at a time like this.
“It tends to indicate that, while the rest of the country is moving forward, the police in Abia are marooned in an inglorious past, it added
The statement said that if Wabara had broken any law of the land through his writings, the decent thing to do was to invite him to make explanations, adding that If such explanations are unsatisfactory, he should then be charged to court.
The media, alongside other patriotic institutions, according to the NGE, fought for the democracy the country enjoys today.