Premium Times Publisher, Reporter Arrested, Released by Police

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Following allegations of defamation of character and a libelous story published against the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Publisher of an online newspaper, Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, as well as the judiciary correspondent of the medium, Evelyn Okakwu, were yesterday arrested by the police.

He was however, later released following pressure from many concerned individuals and citizens.

The arrest was coming on the heels of a petition written by Osuagwu Ugochukwu, lawyer to Buratai, to the Federal capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police, decrying a “false and malicious story” written by the news medium against his client and its refusal to retract the story.

The police, it was gathered, acted on a warrant of arrest issued against the newspaper by a Wuse 2 Magistrate Court yesterday evening as to enable the police carry out a thorough investigation into the matter.

The court order for the arrest was issued at the FCT Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, earlier yesterday afternoon.

In the petition, Buratai’s attorney had complained that the Premium Times informed the public that his client, Lt-Gen Buratai, was being investigated by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

According to him, this story received wide publication and readership, adding that it created a bad image for his client and caused military men on the field to get worried about their boss even when the said story was false and fabricated.

The Nigerian Army had also written to Premium Times, urging the newspaper to withdraw the report.

Meanwhile,the newspaper’s managing editor, Idris Akinbajo, hailed the “overwhelming” support from Nigerians and readers around the world. He said the paper would release a full statement after the journalists meet the police on Friday morning.

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