Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
Local newspaper publishers in Bayelsa State, under the auspices of Bayelsa Federated Newspapers Publishers Association (BFNPA), have given the state government and security agencies in the state a 48-hour ultimatum to produce Chief Jones Abiri, publisher of Weekly Source Newspaper and Crack Reporters, an online portal, who was allegedly arrested by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Thursday in Yenagoa and later framed as head of a militant group.
Abiri was said to have been arrested by security operatives of DSS in the early hours of Thursday, July 21, 2016 and subsequently whisked away from his office in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State capital with countless accusation of spreading coup rumour of a planned overthrow of President Muhammadu Buhari by the military and threat to launch missile attacks against select targets in Abuja including the Presidential Villa, the police headquarters, defence headquarters, NNPC Towers, CBN headquarters, and the National Assembly.
Just as this publication could not independently verify these claims, the Bayelsa Federated Newspapers Publishers Association (BFNPA), expressed shock over the arrest of their member, whom they described as “credible journalist and publisher”, adding that since Abiri’s abduction by nine persons, who claimed to be security operatives, nothing had been heard of the publisher.
They stated that Abiri was not a militant and therefore gave the state government and security agencies in the state a 48-hour ultimatum to produce Abiri, who is the publisher of Weekly Source Newspaper.
Chairman of the association, Mr. EasterDay Ayibatari, said the ultimatum was to enable the government and the security operatives tell them where Abiri was being kept.
Ayibatiri said, “This is because the people who ‘abducted’ the man said they were from the Department of State Services. Thus, it behoves the security agency to identify and locate where the man is being detained. Let me also make it clear that the man was on medications; he was not feeling well.”
Ayibatari, who lamented that journalists in the state were no longer safe, said armed security operatives stormed Abiri’s office in three cars with number plates: SAG 391AA, PBT 480 AA and Lagos 193 DN.
Meanwhile, the Department of State Services in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Mr. Tony Opuiyo, on Saturday in Abuja has confirmed that Abiri was arrested on Thursday by DSS operatives.
The DSS however alleged that the Newspaper and Online publisher was the mastermind of recent rumours of a military coup and further claiming that he was also known as Gen. Akotebe Darikoro, leader of the Joint Revolutionary Council, an arm of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force.
Part of the statement read, “Darikoro (Abiri), who operates under the nom-de-guerre ‘General-Kill and Bury’, has confessed and owned up to some criminal activities committed by the JNDLF.
“These included, vandalism of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company trunk line in Ogboinbiri, Southern Ijaw LGA and bombing of an oil pipeline belonging to Shell Development Company at Brass creek on 8 July, 2016, all in Bayelsa State.
“Darikoro is also the mastermind of the recently circulated hoax of planned overthrow of President Muhammadu Buhari, by the military.”
It will be recalled that last month, the Nigerian Army, through its acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman denied the allegation that there was a plot by the Military to overthrow President Mohammadu Buhari, vowing to investigating the claim and also deal with peddlers of the claim or rumour.
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka