DSS Releases Journalist Jones Abiri


Jones Abiri, the editor and publisher of the Weekly Source newspaper based in the Bayelsa State capital, Yenagoa, arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Saturday has been released.

According to Abiri’s lawyer, Samuel Ogala, he was released on Monday afternoon from the detention.

Abiri was re-arrested on Saturday at Ayabowei Plaza in Yenagoa while having a meeting with his colleagues.

Morris Alagoa, an activist for Niger Delta Rights, a human rights group in southern Nigeria, said the reason for Abiri was still unknown.

“I just spoke to him (Abiri) and he is currently on the premises of the DSS in Abuja,” Alagoa said:

“From what he told me, they still have not told him the reasons for his arrest, or the charges against him,” he added.

Abiri had previously been detained by DSS for two years without arraignment.

He was accused of being the leader of the joint revolutionary council of the separatist group, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force.

He was also accused of threatening oil companies and demanding money from them.

He was granted bail in August 2018 when an Abuja magistrate court struck out a suit against him and following a campaign by rights organisations.

In the recent detention, he had no access to a lawyer or his family, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

On Sunday, CPJ Africa programme coordinator Angela Quintal said “We are deeply worried that he has once again been arrested and that his whereabouts are not known.

“We call on federal and state authorities in Nigeria to disclose where Abiri is being detained and the reasons for his arrest, and urge that they ensure that his rights are not violated yet again and that due process is respected.”

Amnesty International also expressed concern over the arrest and said “the humiliating manner of his arrest is unacceptable”.