Segun Olatunji explains his Harrowing Ordeal in Military Detention

FirstNews editor, Segun Olatunji, who recently regained his freedom after spending 14 days in military detention, has bravely shared his harrowing experience. Mr. Olatunji was abducted from his Lagos home on March 15 by the military, taken to Abuja, and held incommunicado until his release.

Segun Olatunji recounted the chilling events that unfolded during his captivity. On that fateful day, he and his seven-year-old son were watching a popular television program, ‘Journalists Hangout, at home when armed military personnel stormed into their living room in a Gestapo-like manner. Accompanied by his wife, whom they had forcibly taken from her shop, they arrested Mr. Olatunji and whisked him away to an air force base in Lagos. He stated:” I was watching TV with my son when they barged in. It was like a scene from a movie. They didn’t explain anything; they just took me away.” 

Among the soldiers, Segun Olatunji identified a top military officer known simply as Colonel Lawal. Seeking answers, he asked Colonel Lawal why he was being arrested, but received no explanation. The soldiers confiscated his phones and escorted him to his room to dress properly. Throughout his detention, he endured physical discomfort, including being chained and experiencing numbness in his right hand and leg.

Recounting his ordeal, He said: “At first, they put me in a cell. There I was left with leg and hand cuffs. And at a point, one of the officers came and tightened the right leg and the right hand and I was there growing in pain. And they didn’t loosen it until about two or three days later. And at that time, the whole part of my body was getting node. In fact, up till now, I can still feel the pains.

“While in detention, they were asking me questions about certain stories that FirstNews had carried. They first told me that I was one of those abusing the chief of defence intelligence. They didn’t say much about that.Then they also asked a story we carried about the Chief of Staff to the president, and that was a major thing. That’s why I told some people earlier that those behind my arrest are people behind the corridors of power, who are not happy with what FirstNews is doing, and are they bent on taking their own pound of flesh.”

During his captivity, journalists’ unions and his organization tirelessly demanded his release. The joint press conference organized by the International Press Institute (IPI), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) shed light on Mr. Olatunji’s ordeal and underscored the importance of press freedom.

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