Senegal: CPJ wants charges against Nigerian journalist dropped

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - Nigerian authorities should drop all criminal charges against journalist Jacob Onjewu Dickson and release him without delay, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Wednesday.

In a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, CPJ said Dickson has been held in pre-trial detention on incitement charges since Friday.

"President Muhammadu Buhari should not let state officials make a mockery of his laudable commitments to press freedom even as he utters them," remarked CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "We call on state officials to drop the charges against Jacob Onjewu Dickson and release him without delay."

According to the statement, Police invited Dickson, a reporter for the news website Authentic News Daily, to the Kaduna State Police station on Thursday to discuss an April 27, 2016 news report.

Dickson was said to have written a report that cited witnesses as saying youths had pelted the state governor with rocks as he tried to broker peace between residents of two adjacent neighbourhoods.

CPJ said Nigerian Police arrested Dickson after questioning him at the station in the central Nigerian town of Kaduna on Friday. Then they took him to the Kaduna Magistrate Court, charged him with incitement, and returned him to custody the same day.

His trial is scheduled to begin 12 May.

Meanwhile, CPJ disclosed that as Dickson was put under custody, Nigerian Minister of Culture and Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed on the same day delivered an address on behalf of President Buhari to a meeting of the Federation of African Journalists hosted by the National Union of Journalists in Abuja.

He stressed to the gathering the importance of a free media and boasted that "not a single journalist is being detained or harassed in our country today."

-0- PANA MLJ/AR 4May2016

04 may 2016 16:24:00

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