Mr Cletus Opukeme, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Watch has gone into hiding over alleged threats to his life for a news story he published that exposed fraud in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) running into billions of naira. The issue is reported to have attracted the attention of the Senate and House of Representatives which set up various committees to probe the commission’s Interim Management Committee.
Cletus had earlier raised alarm claiming that there are clandestine moves by GodswillAkpabio, Minister of the Niger Delta, in connivance with men of the Nigerian Police Force and the Inspector General Police (IGP), to abduct him and do with him whatever they were instructed to do.
On May 26, 2020 at about 3.45pm local time, a detachment of Police detectives suspected to be from the Force Headquarters in Abuja raidedthe Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press centre on Gbiaye Street in Warri, Delta State and arrested Mr. Matthew Omonigho, who reports for the Daily Post Online.
Mr. EdekiEgafe, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN); Mr. Francis Sadhere, Business Day; and Mr. Christopher Odomhe, a freelance journalist were also later arrested after they went to the Warri Area Command of the Nigeria Police to ascertain the reasons for the arrest of their colleague.
Following the arrest of Omonigho, the leadership of the NUJ in Warri had dispatched Edeki, Sadhere and Christopher to visit the Warri Area Command to ascertain the reason for Omonigho’s arrest. Rather than attend to their enquiries, the officers also detained the three journalists. Their mobile phone handsets were confiscated and searched by the operatives.
The detectives quizzed Matthew and the other the journalists about their links with a suspect, Mr. Cletus Opukeme whom they were searching for.
The Minister of the Niger Delta supervises the NDDC.