On Tuesday, 12th October 2020, the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of PowerSteering Magazine was whisk to Police FCIID headquarters and detained for allegedly writing defamatory comments against the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jeddy Agba.
For the past 10 days, the Police had not charged him to court on any counts nor have the police given any reason for his continued detention. There is also no evidence that the police has any court order mandating it to continually hold him in detention.
Also in spite of various interventions by well-meaning Nigerians and civil organisations including the Nigerian Union of Journalists, the police has turned a deaf ear to pleas for the release of Oga Tom Uhia.
The management of Power House Publishing Ltd., publishers of PowerSteering Magazine has steadily followed the developments and efforts of its lawyers from Alex Oketa law firm to obtain the release of Oga Tom Uhia. All these entreaties have been to no avail.
The management is particularly amazed by the unending excuses the police has given on daily basis for the continued detention of Oga Tom Uhia.
It is on this basis that the management has come to the conclusion that the detention of Oga Tom Uhia may have more than just the allegation of defamation. It believes that there are more sinister intentions and places its belief on the following premises;
1. On the register at the Force CIID cell, there is no trace of his name.This meant that anything could have happened to him in these 10 days he has been in police custody and the police would have neatly denied he was in their custody.
2. It is now evidently clear that the police has nothing to hold against Oga Tom Uhia but just intimidation and harassment because a Minister complained.
\If the police has anything, it would have since charged him to court.
3. The continued detention of Oga Tom Uhia is a clear case of police brutality which is the focal complaint by #Endsars protesters. The NUJ in its letter to the IGP cited this instance as one of police brutality against journalists in Nigeria.
4. The management is also particularly worried that Oga Tom Uhia is being mistreated because of the position his accuser, Mr. Goddy Jeddy Agba holds as a minister of state.
We are also aware of the uncommon relationship between Jeddy Agba and a Deputy Inspector General of police who is from the same area and state with the Minister.
We are reliably informed that it was the DIG’s special interest in this case that has prolonged our publisher’s detention.
5. We are also aware of the massive access Goddy Jeddy Agba has with the unknown world as exhibited in the fears he created during his botched campaign in Cross River state and during his tenure at NNPC.
6. This is not the first time the police has been used to harass staff of PowerSteering Magazine. About 10 years ago, the then Editor in chief, Dan Ekah was whisked by the same unit of the police at the behest of Gabriel Suswam when he was governor.
The police were ridiculed by the High Court which ruled in our favour.
7. We believe that Oga Tom Uhia will scale through his present predicament in the hands of the police and Goddy Jeddy Agba.
It is on this premise that the management of Power House Publishing Ltd., hereby wish to call on the Police High Command to either release Oga Tom Uhia unconditionally or charge him to court without further delay.
We also wish to put the Police High Command as well as the National Human Rights Commission on notice of our sincere fears that Goddy Jeddy Agba and his relation in the police hierarchy may have ulterior motives which could include death of Oga Tom Uhia by pressurizing his sustained detention.
We are aware that, even without admitting any offence, it is trite law that any one is entitled to be charged within 48hrs of his detention. Why is this case different?
We therefore call on all Nigerians to join our campaign to #EndPoliceBrutality; #F¬reeOgaTomUhiaSigned:Chief Dan Ekah Media Consultant, PowerSteering Magazine and deputy Chairman, Power House Publishing Ltd.