I was stripped, kept in handcuffs and leg chains for almost three days — Abducted FirstNews editor Segun Olatunji

FirstNews editor Segun Olatunji

Editor of FirstNews Online Newspaper Segun Olatunji has revealed his experience in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Mr Olatunji was taken captive by military personnel on March 15, 2024 from his Lagos home. He however regained his freedom on Thursday following pressure from the media.

Narrating his ordeal after his release at a press briefing organised by the leaderships of the NGE, NUJ and the IPI in Abuja, Olatunji said he was captured, blindfolded and flown from Lagos to Abuja where he was moved to a cell and kept in handcuffs and leg chains for almost three days.

He said, “Someone came claiming to be from the military. He identified himself as Colonel Lawal. Immediately, he seized my phones. I went to the room to dress up. By the time I got downstairs, I saw soldiers inside the compound taking positions. Outside the gate, I saw about three vehicles with Air Force personnel, Army, Defence Intelligence Agency, others, all fully armed.

“I was handcuffed and taken straight to the office of the National Air Defence Corps, where we waited for three hours. I did not know that they were waiting for an aircraft to pick me to Abuja.

“When the aircraft landed, I was blindfolded and moved to the aircraft and we landed in Abuja shortly. I was leg-cuffed also. They removed my clothes and I was left with my boxers. I was taken to Cell 9.

Abducted FirstNews editor Segun Olatunji regains freedom

“There I was left in leg chains and handcuffs. And at a point, one of the officers came and tightened the right leg and the right hand and I was there growing in pain. And they did not loosen it until about two or three days after.

“Up till now, I could still feel the pains in my hands and legs.”

Olatunji said those behind his ordeal were close to the government.

“They were asking me questions about certain stories that FirstNews had carried. They first told me that I was one of those abusing the Chief of Defence Intelligence (Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Undiandeye). They did not say much about that,” Olatunji said.

He noted that they also asked him about a story FirstNews published about the chief of staff to President Bola Tinubu (Femi Gbajabiamila) which he described as a “major thing”.

While addressing the press, the NGE secretary Iyobosa Uwugiaren said the guild got intelligence information that Olatunji would have been secretly killed but for the sustained pressure from the media.

Speaking on the incident, director of defence media operations Maj. Gen. Edward Buba said: “The armed forces are not in that line of business of kidnapping journalists. We are in a democracy and we don’t have any hangover of military regime in us. The military does not kidnap journalists. I will leave at that.”