Tom Oga, a journalist and Publisher of Power Steering Magazine, is languishing in the detention of the Nigeria Police Force 13 days after his arrest without trial.
Oga was arrested on October 13, 2020 at about 5pm by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force led by CSP Ibrahim, detectives Usman, Daniel and Elijah on the instructions of Jeddy Agba, Minister of State for Power, over an allegation of defamation.
Oga, 73 years old, has not been allowed access to his lawyers in the past days, fuelling anxieties about his health.
Agba, a former Group General Manager of the Crude Oil Matketing Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company before becoming a minister, was irked by a particular report by Power Steering Magazine linking him to a crude oil fraud.
Colleagues of the detained journalist and the umbrella association of journalists, the Nigeria Union of Journalist, Abuja, have made repeated attempts to intervene in the matter without success.
Oga’s lawyers, Alexander Oketa and Evans Odeh, said reliable sureties had been presented to the police to secure the conditional bail of their client but despite meeting up with the demands, police are yet to release him.
Speaking with Tropics NigeriaReporters, Oketa said, “We were granted access to him for the first and second day only. Afterwards, police haven’t allowed us access to our client.
“The bail condition was onerous but we were able to provide the surety. Despite that, the police are yet to release him. One of the policemen confided in him that my client would not be released on bail.”
Dan Ekah, a media consultant to Power Steering Magazine, in a statement said, “On the register at the Force CIID cell, there is no trace of his name. This meant that anything could have happened to him in these 10 days he has been in police custody and the police would have neatly denied he was in their custody.”
Oga’s unlawful detention without trial is coming at a period Nigerians are clamouring against police brutality and state repression.