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Theodore Chinonso Uba AKA Nonso Nkwa
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CSOs, Media Groups Demand Immediate Release of Imo Journalist Nonso Nkwa

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About 15 civil society organisations and media bodies have called for the immediate release of a journalist and human rights activist, Theodore Chinonso Uba, also known as Nonso Nkwa by the Nigeria Police Force.

In a statement on Friday, the groups disclosed that the journalist and radio presenter who is also the coordinator of ‘’Protect the Weak International Foundation (PROWIF), a human rights group based in Owerri, Imo state “was abducted yesterday on his way from work at OsisaFM radio station.”

According to a voice note by a Criminologist-Researcher and Board Chairman of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), Emeka Umeagbalasi, the journalist was abducted by hooded operatives later identified to by acting on behalf of the Nigeria Police Force.

The groups, while making their demands, said “Nigeria police should immediately release human rights defender and journalist Theodore Chinonso Uba, also known as Nonso Nkwa, drop all charges against him, and cease further efforts to intimidate him and his family, the Nigerian Human Rights Coalition said today. CSOs, Media Groups Demand Immediate Release of Imo Journalist Nonso Nkwa

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“Mr Uba, a journalist and radio presenter who is also the coordinator of ‘’Protect the Weak International Foundation (PROWIF), a human rights group based in Owerri, Imo state was abducted yesterday on his way from work at OsisaFM radio station.

“According to several eyewitnesses, Mr Uba was abducted at about 10 am yesterday by several masked men in three unmarked vehicles in front of Maria Assumpta Cathedral church in Owerri, Imo State, on his way home from work”, the rights groups narrated.

Speaking further on the incident, they groups said that “he was reportedly taken to the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) of the Imo state police command. It is believed he is currently detained at the Police Force Headquarters Abuja.

“Nigerian authorities should immediately release journalist Theodore Chinonso Uba and drop all charges against him. No journalist should be intimidated or arrested because of his work.

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“The Nigerian police have too often proven brazenly willing to flout the law to intimidate the press.”

“We are convinced that Nonso Nkwa is being targeted for his work as a journalist, his criticism of the Imo State government as well as the spate of killings by both state and non-state actors in the Imo state.

“Nonso Nkwa has, in the past, faced constant threats and intimidation from security agents and the Imo State government officials for his human rights advocacy.
In July 2022, Mr. NonsoNkwa cried out about his safety, accusing security agents of coming after him after his radio station OsisaFm was shut down by the Federal Government and his house surrounded by security agents.

“The incident came after the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) shut down the radio station on the order of Imo State Government for reporting the July 17 killing of 14 wedding guests in Awomama in Oru East Local Government Area of the state by the Imo state security outfit, Ebubeagu”, the statement noted.

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Civil society and media groups who signed the statement includes Sterling Law Centre, Abuja; Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Lagos; Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS), Umuahia; Everybody Must Serve Campaign For Human Rights (EMS), Abuja; and Justice for Peace and Development Initiative (JPDI), Lagos.

Others are: Nnaemeka Ejiofor & Associates; The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), Onitsha; Life Wire International Foundation, Benin City; International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative, Enugu; and Enugu Network of Civil Society Organisations, Enugu.

Other signatories are: the Coalition of Civil Society Workers and Human Rights Defenders, Enugu; Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation, (HURSDEF), Port Harcourt; One Love Foundation, Benin City; the Nigerian Observatory For Human Rights, Abuja; and the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Abuja.

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Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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