Coalition Condemns Arbitrary Detention of Journalists in Kwara State

13th February 2024: The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) strongly condemns the arbitrary detention and harassment of journalists Salihu Ayatullahi and Adisa-Jaji Azeez, Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of Informant247, by the Nigerian Police Force, Kwara State Command.

According to reports, these journalists were arrested over reports published on November 10, 2023, and February 1, 2024, regarding alleged corruption in Kwara State Polytechnic.

The journalists were formally charged in a Magistrate court on February 7, 2024, with conspiracy under section 27(1)(b) and cyberstalking under section 24(1)(b) of Nigeria’s Cybercrimes Act, and defamation under section 393 of the penal code. If found guilty, the journalists face jail terms of up to seven years for conspiracy, three years with a fine of 7 million naira (US$4,966) for cyberstalking, and two years with an unspecified fine for defamation.

On the same day, the duo was granted bail, with the bail amount set at N250,000 each, and two sureties residing within the court’s jurisdiction. The magistrate adjourned the case until today, February 13, 2024.

The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) extends its support to the newsroom of Informant247, condemning the incessant harassment against the newsroom and urging the Nigerian Police Force, Kwara State Command, to drop all charges against the accused and allow journalists to work without fear of reprisal.. 

The Court must ensure that Salihu Ayatullahi and Adisa-Jaji Azeez receive a fair trial in accordance with international standards of justice. In view of this, this is a clear case of Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPP) aimed at frustrating the reporting process. 

We urge the court to protect the freedom and independence of the press, especially when journalists have supported their report with evidential facts, as mandated by the accountability role vested in them by the constitution. Any legal proceedings against them should be transparent, impartial, and free from interference.

In a press release by the Management of Informant247, it was stated that they ‘would continue to proceed with the publication of the third leg of our report in the coming days.’

As the forthcoming investigation by Informant247 is set to be released, CWPPF urges the Kwara State Police Command to refrain from any further harassment of journalists to suppress stories. 

It is the inherent right of the people to access information, and any attempt to obstruct this right constitutes a blatant violation of fundamental human rights in Nigeria.The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom remains committed to defending press freedom and advocating for the rights of journalists in Nigeria.


Busola Ajibola, 

Deputy Director, Journalism, CJID


CWPPF Members:

  • Premium Times
  • The Cable
  • Daily Trust Newspaper
  • International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)
  • Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ)
  • Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)
  • African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
  • Civic Media Lab
  • Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC)
  • International Press Centre (IPC)
  • International Press Institute (IPI)
  • Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
  • Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)
  • Paradigm Initiative
  • Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
  • HEDA Resources Centre