Nigeria: Jones Abiri in our custody is a crude oil thief not a Journalist – Presidency
London, June 23, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Nigeria Presidency has said, Jones Abiri, the man said to have been arrested by the Department of State Services, DSS, is not a journalist and does not belong to any chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journlists.
He said “On the issue of the arrest and continued detention of Mr Jones Abiri, who allegedly parades himself as a journalist, by the Department of State Services (DSS), it is instructive to note that the accused is a guest of the security agency because of his alleged involvement in militant and criminal activities.
“Admittedly, the issue of Abiri had been brought to the attention of the Presidency by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
“As a true believer in the rule of law and the integral role of the media in a democracy, the Presidency did interface with the security agency involved in the matter and our findings confirmed that the suspect is in custody because of alleged involvement in pipeline vandalism and theft.
“Abiri is not a registered journalist with any of the media professional bodies in the country.”
The Presidential spokesman said further that there was no evidence to show that Abiri belonged to any chapel or membership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) or payment of the union’s check-off dues.
“Abiri’s stock-in-trade and notoriety in the liberalised Nigeria media industry include fronting as a spokesman for militants engaged in economic sabotage in the Niger Delta region.
“President Buhari is resolutely committed to the freedom of the press and his administration will ensure that media personnel in the country discharge their duties without let or hindrance”.
Shehu frowned at those individuals or groups insinuating that President Buhari was in support of restrictions on freedom of expression and the media.
“It is therefore very uncharitable for anyone or group to suggest otherwise or infer that the President is in support of restrictions on freedom of expression and the media.
“Buhari administration would continue to promote the freedom and safety of journalists”, he said.