BY ALIJO SYLVESTER, ABUJA – Following alleged critical reports against the government of Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has ordered the arrest of another Kaduna-based journalist and correspondent of Leadership newspaper, Mr Midat Joseph.
Joseph was picked up by security operatives in his house in the early hours of Thursday and has been in detention since his arrest.
The latest case brings to six, the number of journalists arrested allegedly on the orders of Governor El-Rufai, known for his razor-blade criticisms of the Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan administrations.
Governor El-Rufai since assumption of office on May 2015, has been so intolerant of media criticisms and the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned El-Rufai’s high-handed action, saying that it is typical of military dictatorship.
Reacting to the ugly development, HURIWA called for a total media blacklist against Governor El-Rufai, noting that freedom of the press and the right to freedom of information are the kernels that sustain a democratic entity.
In a strongly worded statement by its National Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said, “When those who control the different layers of political power constantly abuse these powers to intimidate, harass and unduly incarcerate persons with divergent opinions, that political space automatically becomes a dictatorship.”
According to him; “Nigerians must reject this gradual evolution of dictatorship in Kaduna state. We also ask President Muhammadu Buhari to call Governor El-Rufai to order and stop him from turning Kaduna into a dictatorship, whereby all those who hold independent opinions are constantly harassed using the police and the safety of these persons compromised.”