Coalition for Whistle-blowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) Condemns Police Raid and Arrest at ABN TV Studio

19th January 2024 – The Coalition for Whistle-blowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) condemns the recent actions of the police in Abia State on 17th January, who forcefully stormed the ABN TV studio and arrested a guest, Udensi Donald, during a live programme.

The incident, which occurred on Tuesday in Umuahia during the ‘Youth Rendezvous’ program anchored by Grace Onyekachi, is a blatant violation of press freedom and a cause for great concern. It infringes upon the fundamental right to freedom of expression and the right to access information. It further conveys an intention to censor the media through the means of threats and harassment. The CWPPF is deeply troubled by the unwarranted intrusion into the media house and the subsequent arrest of its guest.

Ifeanyi Okali, the Director of ABN TV, revealed in a statement that the police claimed the arrest was based on a petition filed by Uche Udensi, an elder brother of the guest, over a family matter. Despite pleas from the station staff to allow the program to conclude before effecting the arrest, the police proceeded to apprehend Mr. Udensi, demonstrating a clear contravention of established norms.

Furthermore, the actions of some police operatives at the police headquarters, as reported by Mr. Okali, including barricading doors, harassment, intimidation, and threats against ABN TV staff, are concerning.

We strongly denounce the reported destruction of ABN TV’s broadcasting equipment, including a laptop, camera, and microphones, during the police raid. These acts are not only capable of inflicting financial losses on the media house but can also jeopardize the unrestricted flow of information. Between 1996 and now, the CJID Press Attack Tracker has documented 39 comparable incidents where journalists’ and newsrooms’ equipment was damaged or seized. We take this opportunity to insist that such actions be prevented in the future.

The CWPPF demands an open apology from the Abia State Command of the Nigerian Police for this unjustified attack on press freedom. The incident highlights a need for proper training and orientation of law enforcement officers on best practices for engaging with the civil populace, especially in democratic environments where media plays a crucial role in public discourse.

CWPPF calls for a swift and transparent investigation into this incident, and we urge the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abia State Police Command., Maureen Chinaka, to provide detailed information on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.


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