The Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services, DSS, are yet to release the 10 journalists arrested at the hotel they were staying in Benin City, five days on.
The journalists, who were in the Edo State capital for the September 28 governorship election in the state, were arrested at Douban Hotel on Airport Road by a combined team of the Nigerian Army and the DSS at about 2am.
According to the publisher and Editor of the Watchdog News, where the journalists work, Taiye Garrick, they were in Benin to carry out a survey of voters and report on the early preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and other stakeholders ahead of the election.
Garrick also disclosed that he had been receiving threat calls and invitations from anonymous persons asking him to report at the SSS office in Abuja or elsewhere.
Sources also disclosed that the journalists were battered and bruised by the security team, as they were bathed with dirty water and treated like common criminals.
While reacting to reports on the arrest of the journalists, the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col Sani Usman, denied that the Army and the DSS team had knowledge that they were journalists.
According to Usman, the team moved in to effect the arrest after getting credible information that some hoodlums who were in the state to cause trouble during the governorship election were staying in the hotel.
He also added that the arrested men, who did not identify themselves as journalists, were in possession of incriminating materials, including those sensitive to INEC, while also denying that they were bratalised.
According to Garrick, the journalists who are still detained at the SSS field office in Benin as at Saturday evening and denied access to their lawyers are: Tony Abulu (Production Manager), Richard Hasley (Reporter), Opara Uche (Reporter), Handy Romeo Eze (Reporter), Kelvin Toryila (Video Editor), Lanre Ogunleye (IT associate), Balogun Ehigie (IT ), Kenneth Danpome (Head, IT), Mathew (Logistics Manager) and Joe Epi (Driver)
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