Tim Elombah Thanks Nigerians After Release From Police Detention

The management and staff of Elombah.com, on Thursday thanked friends and family, the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), Lawyers, Journalists, local and international Non governmental organisations, NGOs , National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) , the British government, and numerous individuals for their steadfastness and unwavering support during the unlawful detention of Tim Elombah, the editor of Elombah. Com.

Tim and his brothers were arrested in the wee hours of January 1, 2018 by men and officers of the Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS, and the Special Tactical Squad, STS, of the Nigeria police.

The Publishers of the online newspaper in a statement issued after the release of Tim Elombah via an order of an FCT Abuja high court said, although the Police is yet to state under what charges the Elombah brothers were detained, they trust the judiciary will address whatever injustice suffered by the innocent citizens.

“We also hope that the publisher, Daniel Elombah will be able to travel back to his base in the United Kingdom immediately to rejoin his family”, the management stated.

“Freedom of speech and expression is an inalienable right of every person and Nigerians should stand firm against any flagrant abuse of these fundamental rights without excuses”, the statement concluded.

OPAN Welcomes Release Of Detained Online Journalist

The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), on Thursday welcomed the release of Tim Elombah, the editor of Elombah.com after 25 days of unlawful detention by the Police.

Tim and his brothers were arrested in the wee hours of January 1, 2018 by men and officers of the Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS, and the Special Tactical Squad, STS, of the Nigeria police.

The Premier organisation of Nigeria’s online journalists in a statement issued after the release of Tim Elombah via an order of an FCT Abuja high court said they expect the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris to immediately inform Nigerians under what charges the Elombah brothers were arrested and detained.

“We trust that the judiciary will address whatever injustices suffered by the innocent citizens”, OPAN said in the statement signed by their President, Austin Oganah.

“We also hope that the publisher, Daniel Elombah, will be able to travel back to his base in the United Kingdom immediately to rejoin his family”.

“We expect the authorities to henceforth respect the inalienable right of every Nigerian to freedom of speech and expression and call on all Nigerians to join us and stand firm against any flagrant abuse of these fundamental rights without excuses”, the statement concluded.

Breaking: Court Grants Bail To Tim Elombah

An Abuja High Court, Wuse 2 on Tuesday granted bail to Tim Elombah, brother to Daniel Elombah who was unlawfully arrested by men of the Nigeria Police Force in Anambra State on New Year’s Day.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Ajoke ordered for his immediate release within 24 hours with one reasonable Surety with
N500,000 in like sum.

The Fundamental right application and N1b damages against the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force was filed by Tim’s lawyers on January 10, 2018.

Yesterday, January 22, 2018, marked twenty-one (21) days since the elombah.com editor has been arrested by the Nigerian Police beyond a remand order granted by Grade 1 Area Court sitting in Mpape, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

OsunDefender recalls that the elombah.com Editor was arrested alongside his brothers from their family house in Edoji-Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria in the wee hours of New Year’s day.

The online journalists were arrested over an article titled “IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies”, written by Ebiowei Dickson on social media network, Instagram and believed to have been published on elombah.com.

We had also informed you that the publisher of elombah.com, was released late Monday night, January 1 but the Editor was remanded in police custody for seven (7) days pending the completion of the police investigation and filing a former charge.

In our report, we stated that Tim might spend more days in detention because there was a plot to get a remand to keep the elombah.com editor for twenty (20) more days.

Few hours after the report went viral on social media, the police approached the court seeking an order to remand Tim in prison custody for a period of fourteen (14) days pending the completion of police investigation and filing a former charge but the court only granted seven (7) days to the police to be resumed on January 9, 2018.

The detention of the elombah.com editor expired on Monday, January 7 but the Nigerian Police has continued to detain Mr. Elombah illegally despite requests by both international and local civil organisations for his release.

Keyamo Asks Buhari To Remove IGP Idris Over Unlawful Arrest Of Elombah Brothers

Human Rights Activist, and famous lawyer Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Kpotum Idris for high-handedness and Abuse of office in ordering the illegal arrest and detention of online journalists, Daniel Elombah and Tim Elombah.

Keyamo who made the request in a letter written to President Buhari dated 15, January accused the IGP of displaying personal vendetta by refusing to release Tim Elombah long after the detention order granted by an Area Court Judge has expired.

The Senior Advocate who narrated how the Elombah brothers were abducted from their home town in Edoji, Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra state, said that a situation where Mr President’s appointees ride rough shod over innocent citizens or use the positions to which Mr President appointed them to settle personal scores should, ordinarily, rankle the President and cause him to intervene.

“Your Excellency, it is shocking and alarming, to say the least, that the Inspector-General of Police deployed the officers and men of special police squads like SARS and STS, which are established to fight serious and violent crimes, to settle a purely private grievance with on-line journalists. If at all an offence was committed by the said published article (which is not conceded) a simple civil invitation to our clients would have sufficed. But to use such strong-arm tactics to reign in our clients was a gross abuse of his office and an employment of stone-age tactics in pursuing his personal grievance.

“He has further displayed his personal vendetta by refusing to release Tim Elombah long after the detention order has expired. This is one of the worst forms of abuse of human rights.

“Your Excellency, such practices should be clearly unacceptable under your watch. A situation where your appointees ride rough shod over innocent citizens or use the positions to which you appointed them to settle personal scores should, ordinarily, rankle you and cause you to intervene. It should be more so as the substance of the matter has to do with the criticism of the personal life of a public officer by the Fourth Estate of the Realm, a practice that has come to be recognized as one of the components of a thriving democracy. If a public officer cannot tolerate or stomach harsh criticisms, he has no business occupying public office.

“It is in the light of the above we urge you to use your good offices to order an investigation into this crass display of power and indiscretion by the Inspector-General of Police and mete out appropriate sanctions against him, which may include the extreme step of relieving him of his position.”

Keyamo’ petition further said that “On or about the 1st day of January, 2018, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, caused the men and officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad to invade the family compound of our clients in Edoji, Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State. Six persons (including our clients) were arrested, handcuffed like common criminals and driven to the SARS office in Nnewi. They were subsequently taken to the SARS headquarters in Awkuzu, near Awka. Up till this point, our clients were not informed of the reason(s) for their arrests.

“It was at SARS headquarters in Awkuzu that our clients were handed over to other armed officers who identified themselves as being from Special Tactical Squad, S.T.S, a team that works directly in the office of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris. Our clients and one Izuchukwu Elombah were then taken all the way by road (and in handcuffs) to Abuja.

“It was in Abuja that the officers then subjected our clients to hours of grueling interrogation regarding an article published in another blog called opinionnigeria.com, titled ‘IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies”. The article in question was not published by our clients’ blog, Elombah.com, and our clients denied any link to the author, one Ebiowei Dickson. Daniel and Izuchukwu Elombah were eventually released on bail, but have been made to report constantly since then.

“However, the Police got a Remand Order to detain Tim for seven days which expired more than a week ago and the Police are still holding Tim illegally. We now understand that the Police have prepared a Charge against our clients and they would soon be arraigned.”

Fresh Controversy Trails Police IGP, Over The Illegal Detention Of London-Based-Lawyer, And Online Publisher

Despite the uproar and condemnation trailing the killings by Fulani herdsmen in Benue and Taraba States, over the Police and security agencies’ handling of the crisis, Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police (IGP) has again managed to open a new controversy on another front after an alleged high handedness in dealings with a London based lawyer and online publisher, and his journalist brother, Tim and Daniel Elombah, respectively, over a publications on a separate platform other than the one managed by Tim and Daniel.

The article in question was published on opinionnigeria.com. While details of the gist bear striking resemblance to an earlier expose by Senator Mesau which is still a matter of Senate Probe and litigation in the court of law, the online article further explored in new details how love struck IGP appears to be relating with his new wife, Astha Ibrahim, a former low ranking officer, who then went ahead to enjoy rapid promotion after her romantic involvement with the chief of police.

The article further impugned the head of police, accusing him of handing over operational responsibilities like officers’ transfer to the wife, even though retired. There hasn’t been any formal rebuttal from the office of the IGP. While Idris is in Benue after being ordered to relocate by President Mohammadu Buhari after the killings of over 70 community residents in the state, Tim and Daniel suffer different agonies in the hands of men of the State Anti Robbery Squads, SARS, after being plucked from their Nnewi home on 1 January this year.

The IGP apparently holds them squarely responsible for the publication.

Tim Elombah is still held incommunicado by the police. Daniel on the other hand is in intensive care at a private hospital in Garki where police have since continued to harass him. At the hospital, when armada visited Daniel, it was gathered from one of the doctors that the journalist had to be put under sedation on account of his spiraling blood pressure.

But late last week, Daniel was summoned by SARS to the police headquarters. Explaining his ordeal, Daniel said. “I was summoned to the SARS and asked to be there by 10am. I obeyed the summons. They took my statement and allowed me to go but my brother remains in detention.

“The remand order for him expired on Tuesday last week, but Tim is still being detained illegally,” Daniel stated.

On the 1st day of January 2018, men of the Federal Special Anti-Armed Robbery Squad, SARS, numbering about fifteen and armed to the teeth allegedly stormed the family compound of the Elombah’s in Edoji, Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State.

The men who struck around 5.00am on New Year day, climbed over the gate with a ladder and ransacked the entire house. At the end of the operation, six adult male members of the family including Daniel and Tim Elombah were handcuffed, herded into a bus and driven to the SARS Nnewi office where they were briefly detained. Mobile phones and laptops belonging to the members of the family were seized by the team.

No one explained the reason for their arrest thereby throwing the entire family, including their aged mother, their wives and little children into great distress.

Repeated requests for reasons for their arrests were met with a terse, “you’ll be told at the station,” from the policemen.

Their lawyer who attempted to find out the reason for the arrest was told in express terms that they were “acting on orders from above” and was not even allowed to talk to them.

From Nnewi, they were driven to the SARS headquarters in Awkuzu, near Awka, again without being told the reason for their arrest.

At the SARS state headquarters, they were handed over to a different set of four armed men who were later identified as officers from the Special Tactical Squad, STS, a crack team of operatives directly in the office of Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police.

The team leader of the STS explained to them that the Inspector General of Police, IGP, personally ordered the arrest because Tim Elombah, allegedly published an article on the online media, Elombah.com, which article was allegedly aimed at blackmailing the IGP. Repeated requests for details of the offending article were not met but they were told that they would be given the details in Abuja. The STS team leader thereafter released the eldest of the Elombah brothers while three Elombah’s namely: Daniel, Tim and Izuchukwu Elombah, were herded in handcuffs into another bus after they were briefly interrogated.

At this point, the brothers repeatedly requested to be told the offence for which they were arrested but were ignored. The allegation against Izuchukwu, a trader in Niger State was also not provided.

They left Anambra state and arrived at the STS Abuja office around 5:00pm. Tim who is also the editor-in-chief of the online news medium, Elombah.com was grilled for nearly three hours while Daniel and Izuchukwu were detained behind the Counter. All three were eventually interrogated separately for several hours. It thereafter emerged that Tim was accused of publishing the article on opinionnigeria.com.

Attempts at getting Force spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, proved unsuccessful after refusing to neither pick calls nor respond to text.

However, Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, have since petitioned the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Reps, Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, respectively.

In their letter, through their lawyer, Malizu Iwudoh of Imperial Legal, Lagos, the association urged the lawmakers wade into the matter. They specically sought three prayers: that the lawmakers condemn the arrests and call the IGP to order; conduct a hearing into the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the detention of the Elombah’s, and the continued detention of Tim Elombah and to conduct a hearing into the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, unit of the Nigerian Police Force.

Source: http://armada.ng/fresh-controversy-trails-police-igp-illegal-detention-london-based-lawyer-online-publisher/

OPAN Writes Buhari Over Police Harassment Of Tim And Daniel Elombah

8th January, 2018

Your Excellency,
President Muhammadu Buhari
President,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock, Asokoro
Abuja.

Dear Sir,

A PETITION BY THE ONLINE PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (OPAN) TO HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI OVER THE ARBITRARY ARREST OF TIM ELOMBAH AND DANIEL ELOMBAH ON THE EXPRESS ORDERS OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE.

We are the solicitors to the registered trustees of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN and so this petition issues on their behalf and instructions.

The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, is Nigeria’s premier association of digital/new media publishers.

Daniel Elombah and Tim Elombah, are the Publisher and Editor respectively, of the United Kingdom based online news website, Elombah.com.

On the 1st day of January 2018, men of the Federal Special Anti-Armed Robbery Squad, SARS, numbering about fifteen and armed to the teeth stormed the family compound of the Elombah’s in Edoji, Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State.

The men who struck around 5.00am on the new year day climbed over the gate with a ladder and ransacked the entire house. At the end of the operation, six (6) adult male members of the family including Daniel and Tim Elombah were handcuffed, herded into a rickety bus and driven to the SARS Nnewi office where they were briefly detained. Mobile phones and laptops belonging to the members of the family were seized by the team.

No one explained the reason for their arrest thereby throwing the entire family, including their aged mother, their wives and little children into great distress. Repeated requests for the reason for their arrest was met with a terse, “you’ll be told at the station”.

Their lawyer who attempted to find out the reason for the arrest was told in express terms that they were “acting on orders from above” and was not even allowed to talk to them.

From Nnewi they were driven to the SARS headquarters in Awkuzu, near Awka, again without being told the reason for their arrest.

At the SARS state headquarters, they were handed over to a different set of four armed men who were later identified as officers from the Special Tactical Squad, STS, a crack team of operatives directly in the office of Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police.

The team leader of the STS explained to them that the Inspector General of Police, IGP, personally ordered the arrest because Tim Elombah, allegedly published an article on the online media, Elombah.com, which article was allegedly aimed at blackmailing the IGP. Repeated requests for details of the offending article were not met but they were told that they will be given the details in Abuja. The STS team leader thereafter released the eldest of the Elombah brothers while three Elombah’s namely: Daniel, Tim and Izuchukwu Elombah were herded in handcuffs into another bus after they were briefly interrogated.

At this point, the brothers repeatedly requested to be told the offence for which they were arrested but were ignored. The allegation against Izuchukwu, a trader in Niger State was also not provided.

They left Anambra state and arrived at the STS Abuja office around 5:00pm. Tim who is also the editor-in-chief of the online news medium, Elombah.com was grilled for nearly three hours while Daniel and Izuchukwu were detained behind the Counter. All three were eventually interrogated separately for several hours. It thereafter emerged that Tim was accused of publishing a defamatory article on a website.

The article titled “IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” was published as an opinion piece on Opinionnigeria.com, an online medium that was hitherto unknown to them. Moreover, the author of the said article was one Ebiowei Dickson, again a very strange name to the three brothers.

Tim repeatedly denied writing the article which in any case was NOT published on Elombah.com. Tim also denied knowing the identity of Ebiowei Dickson.

Daniel and Izuchukwu Elombah was eventually released after much pressure from friends, but Tim Elombah remains in detention.

The police filed a motion ex parte and got a remand order from an area court of the FCT for a further seven days detention for Tim Elombah.
Up till now, the Police have not revealed to Daniel, Tim and Izuchukwu Elombah their alleged offences. No one has informed them why they were abducted from their country home, handcuffed like criminals and transported in a bus over a very bad road for 700 miles to Abuja. Izuchukwu was assaulted, slapped, punched and beaten. They were physically and psychologically tortured and traumatized! Their mother’s blood pressure shot through the roof and she is presently undergoing medical treatment. Their children were traumatized at the sight of gun totting hefty men that were initially mistaken for armed robbers or kidnappers banging at doors and waking up the entire household in the wee hours of the morning of the new year day. Daniel’s movement is restricted and he is not allowed to leave the country. That means that his family could not travel back to London as scheduled to enable their two children resume schooling. The schools resumed on Wednesday 3rdJanuary in London.

Though the police has declined to publicly state why the journalists were brutalized and arrested in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in their family home in Nnewi, Anambra State, independent finding shows that the arrest was premised on an opinion article titled “LGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” written by Eboiwei Dickson, that was published on another website – Opinion Nigeria – which the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris found offensive. If so, at best what Tim Elombah is accused of doing was libel, and therefore, absolutely a civil matter. This squarely means that the IGP inputted criminality into an otherwise civil matter and unleashed the full might of the Nigerian Police Force on the defenseless Elombah’s.

We also note that no formal invitation was ever given to the Elombah’s.

OPAN views the assault on Elombah.com, Daniel, Tim and Izuchukwu Elombah as a gross violation of their persons and fundamental right as enshrined in the constitution.

OPAN therefore prays the President:
1. To condemn the arrest and call the IGP to order
2. To set up a panel of inquiry to look into the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the detention of the Elombah’s, and the continued detention of Tim Elombah.
3. To set up a panel of inquiry to look into the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, unit of the Nigerian Police Force.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,
For: Imperial Legal

MALIZU IWUDOH Esq

Police Continues To Detain Tim Elombah Illegally

The Nigerian Police Force has continued to detain Tim Elombah despite requests by both international and local civil organisations for his release. 

An Area Court Judge had earlier remanded Mr Elombah in Police custody.

The remand for Tim Elombah’s detention expired on Monday  but the Police has continued to detain Mr Elombah illegally.

Tim had denied committing the alleged offence for which he was arrested.

Tim Elombah, the Editor of Elombah. Com an online newspapers was arrested  by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) along with the Publisher of the newspaper,  Daniel Elombah and their younger brother Izuchukwu Elombah in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in their family home in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Daniel who was released on bail appeared at the office of The Special Tactical Squad, Abuja and thereafter issued a statement. 

Findings revealed that the Elombah brothers were arrested for an opinion article titled “ IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” written by one Eboiwei Dickson, that was published on another website – opinion Nigeria – which the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris found offensive.

Nigerian Online Publishers Want Senate To Investigate Elombah Brothers’ Arrest

The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN that encompasses Digital/New Media Publishers has petitioned The Nigerian Senate over the arrest of Daniel and Tim Elombah, the Publisher and Editor, of United Kingdom Based Online News Website, Elombah.com by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Police, F-SARS on New Year’s Day in Edoji Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State.

OPAN also requested that the Senate launch a probe on the prevalence of attacks on online media and other journalists in the country.

The association in the letter addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said although the police is yet to give any reason for the arrest, independent finding shows that the arrest was premised on an opinion article titled “IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” written by Eboiwei Dickson, that was published on an online Medium “Opinion Nigeria” with the IGP ordering his arrest after finding it offensive.

According to the Petition, “At the end of the operation which started around 5am on New Year’s Day, 6 adult male members of the family were handcuffed, herded into a rickety bus and driven to the SARS Nnewi Office where they were briefly detained.”

OPAN said the incident which has caused distress in the family should be addressed as soon as possible by the National Assembly to put an end to the unfortunate cases of harassment of Journalists across the country.

Court Rules On Tim Elombah’s Oral Application For Bail

An Area Court sitting in Mpape, Abuja will today (Tuesday) rule on the oral bail application of Tim Elombah arrested alongside his brother, Dan last week by men of the Nigeria Police Force F-SARS.

Tim was arraigned last week after his brother Daniel, an online publisher where he was Editor for posting an alleged ostentatious article on Elombah.com was released owing to media outcry across the federation.

Last Tuesday, the court empowered the police to detain Tim Elombah for an extra 7 days in custody.

According to those in court, the court said “In the matter of an application by commissioner of police for an order of the Honorable Court to remand the Respondent in prison custody for a period of 14 days pending the completion of police investigation and filing a former charge.”

“However, the judge granted 7 days to the police to be resumed on the 9th January, 2018.”

Indications also emerged that he will likely be charged for defamation, a law that the Lagos State Government has expunged.

During the sitting, the police asked for 14 days through a motion exparte which is unknown in law as the defendant must be put on notice.

The judge however decided to hear it and granted 7 days.

However, the lawyers present intend to get the court papers and file to vacate the order.