Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) and the Niger State government to immediately prosecute Tega Oghenedoro, the journalist arrested for allegedly demanding N50million bribe, in a court of competent jurisdiction, if they have actionable evidence against him or release him without further delay.
The organisation contended that Oghenedoro’s detention without charge is illegal and constitutes a violation of his fundamental rights. It called on the SSS and the Niger State government to release him forthwith if they have no evidence to charge him to court.
In a statement signed by MRA’s deputy executive director, Ms Jennifer Onyejekwe, yesterday, the body condemned the action of the SSS in parading him before the media, thereby subjecting him to media trial, instead of taking him before a court of law.
She noted that any person accused of any offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, and wondered why the security agency and the Niger State government opted to parade him before the media instead of charging him to court, following their claim of having mounted an elaborate sting operation to ensnare him, which should have given them sufficient evidence with which to try him, if their claims are true.
Oghenedoro, a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority in Asaba, Delta State, allegedly using the pen name of “Fejiro Oliver” was initially declared missing on September 19, 2014, but was paraded by the SSS before the media in Minna on September 22 for allegedly demanding a bribe of N50million to suppress a story about Governor Mu’azu Aliyu of Niger State.
Governor Aliyu’s spokesperson, Israel Ebije accused Oghenedoro of “using mushroom online platforms to blackmail innocent Nigerians”.