GroundTruth calls for release of unjustly detained Nigerian journalist

Update, May 10, 2024: We have confirmed that journalist Daniel Ojukwu was released by the government today.

FIJ investigative reporter is also a Report for the World corps member

BOSTON, May 8, 2024—The GroundTruth Project, home to Report for America and Report for the World, joins leading news organizations in demanding the release of Nigerian journalist Daniel Ojukwu whom government authorities have held since May 1.

Ojukwu had been missing for several days before his newsroom, the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), was able to confirm that he was taken into custody by the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) on allegations of violating the Cybercrimes Act.

“Daniel Ojukwu, an investigative reporter with FIJ whom we support through Report for the World, has been exposing corruption cases by public authorities, who are now trying to silence his voice and those of other independent journalists,” said Preethi Nallu, executive director of Report for the World. “We ask that Nigerian officials immediately release Ojukwu from detention and end their intimidation of journalists.”

Fisayo Soyombo, FIJ’s founder and editor-in-chief, asserts that Ojukwo was arrested because he investigated suspicious spending by a government official who had diverted money for school construction into a restaurant’s bank account. Soyombo is extremely alarmed by the level of secrecy shown by law enforcement.

“The abduction of Daniel Ojukwu is a monumental attack on press freedom. The police knew all they needed was to send an invitation and Daniel would have come over. Every single time the police invited someone from FIJ in the past, we honored it. To then disappear Daniel like that, throwing us all into turmoil, leaving us scampering from police station to police station lodging a missing person report, and holding him incommunicado for three days, proves this was more than an arrest but an abduction. Had we not received a tip-off on May 3, Daniel would still be in police custody by now without our knowledge,” Soyombo said.

About The GroundTruth Project

The GroundTruth Project is an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up. GroundTruth serves under-covered communities by supporting the next generation of journalists to do on-the-ground reporting and to advance sustainability, innovation and equity in journalism worldwide. GroundTruth’s flagship programs — Report for America and Report for the World — place talented, diverse local reporters in the newsrooms that need them most.