The Nigeria Union of Journalists on Saturday called on the Nigeria Police to release the Associate Editor of The Sun newspapers, Ebere Wabara, unconditionally.
The call was contained in statement issued by the National Secretary of the NUJ, Shuaibu Leman, in Abuja.
Wabara, a veteran journalist, was arrested at his residence in Lagos on March 28, allegedly on the orders of Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State.
The statement said: “The arrest and detention of Ebere Wabara by the police on the orders of the Governor Theodore Orji of Abia clearly shows that Nigeria is still in its undemocratic periods.
“After about 15 years of uninterrupted democracy, we are yet to move away from the anti democratic practises that characterised former military regimes.
“We are further worried that this arrest and detention runs contrary to common sense and the law.
“It is our contention that no responsible government should be seen to be arresting and detaining its citizens indiscriminately.”
The NUJ stressed that if this act of impunity was allowed to continue, no Nigerian would be free.
The statement added: “It is unfortunate that the government of Abia had openly shown its bias in this case as everything conceivable is being done to frustrate the release of Wabara.
“We say no to government who make a mockery of the freedom of expression and democracy when they encourage a culture of impunity and lawlessness against the media.”
The statement said that detaining journalists at this level of development clearly showed the imprint of military regime.
It cautioned leaders, who are beneficiaries of the media struggling to entrench democracy, to avoid such acts of impunity “if we desire to succeed in our quest for national development.
“Release Wabara unconditionally and the time to stop such acts of impunity is long overdue.”
Similarly, the Nigerian Guild of Editors has also called for the immediate release of Wabara.
The call was contained in statement issued by the Deputy President of the NGE, Aishatu Sule.
It described the arrest of Wabara by the police from Abia State as crossing the line from civility to despotism.
The statement said: “We are completely stupefied at the conduct of the police in Abia, which has decided to exhume a colonial law from our statute books at a time like this.
“It tends to indicate that, while the rest of the country is moving forward, the police in Abia are marooned in an inglorious past.”
The statement said that if Wabara had broken any law of the land through his writings, the decent thing to do was to invite him to make explanations.
“If such explanations are unsatisfactory, he should then be charged to court,” it said.
The media, alongside other patriotic institutions, according to the statement, fought for the democracy the country enjoys today.
“We, therefore, call on President Goodluck Jonathan, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and other well-meaning Nigerians to intervene and ensure that sanity prevails,” the statement said.