#FreeCiaxon: Nigerian Netizen Missing After Reporting on Deadly Clashes

Yusuf Isiaka [Image by @babajidefaduju and used with his permission]

Yusuf Isiaka [Image by @babajidefaduju and used with his permission]

UPDATE [April 11, 2014]: This post has been updated since its original publication date. New information about @ciaxon's case can be found at the conclusion of the post.

An engineer who tweets as @ciaxon allegedly has been detained for ten days after tweeting a series of photos and eyewitness reports on violent clashes between Boko Haram terrorists and security forces that left 20 dead.

According to local news reports, several members of the northern Nigeria-based jihadist terrorist organisation who were in detention at the Department of State Services (DSS) attacked guards and seized their weapons in an attempt to escape. A bloody shootout ensued.

Nigerian blogger Blossom Nnodim describes how @ciaxon, who is stationed by the adjacent Presidential Villa, reported on the event: 

There was an online frenzy with most folks relying on [tid]bits of information garnered from witnesses and the few that were shared by the Public Relations unit of the Department of State Services. In the cause of the event, a certain Yoosooph who tweets as @ciaxon, was thrown into the limelight. He shared real time information as texts and photos of the occurrences around the Department of State Services. Apparently he was at his duty post within the zone and had a clear view of the entire incidence.

@ciaxon sent the following tweets on March 30, 2014: 

Babajide Faduju, a blogger and business strategist, gives a summary of @ciaxon's ordeal: 

His name is Isiaka Yusuf, and he is an Abuja resident. His home address is, as yet, undiscovered.

Isiaka Yusuf worked as an engineer at the Aso Rock PHCN substation from sometime in January 2014 to date. From March 30 till date, Isiaka’s family has had no communication from him.

Attempts by Isiaka’s brother to get information from his workplace were rebuffed — in compliance with “orders from above”

Isiaka’s last known communication was a series of tweets on the attempted Boko Haram escape from SSS custody on March 30.

However, the SSS spokesperson said, yesterday, that she cannot confirm Isiaka’s arrest by the SSS. As it is, there is no certainty about Isiaka’s current location, movements or of his being alive.

UPDATE [April 11, 2014]: @ciaxon's full name is Yusuf Siyaka Onimisi.

Nigerian Twitter users are calling for Siyiaka's immediate release. Many pointed to the photo below, tweeted by Isiaka, in which he reports having handed a soldier a bottle of water. Babajide Fadoju could not understand why @Ciaxon should be arrested after exhibiting such kind behavior:  

Tunde Leye, a writer, posited that he should be rewarded not punished for being patriotic: 

Ayodele Odekunle, lawyer and YNaija Op-Ed Editor, suggested that local attorneys take legal action on the case: 

Atom Lim, social commentator, asked a satirical question: 

Mark Amaza, writer, did not understand how praising the military could land @ciaxon in trouble: 

Another tweep agreed: 

 Ayo commented on how online engagement is having an increasing impact on offline events: 

Payme offered a philosophical point: 

Blossom Nnodim noted that “while sharing real-time information on Social Media is not a crime, the Department of State Services reserves the right to invite anyone for questioning if they believe that it could be a useful lead in an investigation.” As of now, supporters are waiting for official confirmation of Siyaka's detention. Advox will continue to cover this story as it unfolds.


UPDATE [April 11, 2014]: Since the original publication of this post, Ayo Sogunro (@ayosogunro) and Fola Lawal (@SheCrownLita) – who are in direct contact with Siyaka's family – relayed the following information for publication on Advox.

1. Yusuf Siyaka Onimisi is a 32 year old employee of PHCN, where he works as an Engineer at the Aso Rock sub-station (since January). He is an Abuja resident (home address as yet unknown). His name is often spelled “Isiaka” as well. He has family in both Kano and Abuja. His mother, is however, in Kogi.

2. On 30 March, he was at work. On that day, he also sent a considerable number of tweets about the shootout at the DSS HQ. Tweets were accompanied by some pictures. As the day unfolded, he also called his brother Sanusi Onimisi, who lives in Kano, to inform him about what was going on around his workplace. 

3. From late same day, March 30, till date, his family has had no communication from him. His phone has been off.

4. Attempts by his brother, Sanusi, to get information from his workplace were rebuffed in compliance with “orders from above”.

5. Some of his colleagues, however, stated on conditions of anonymity that he was dragged away from his PHCN office, by a “Strike Force” team. They confirmed that his car is still parked in the compound.

6. His last known public communication was a series of tweets in connection with the attempted Boko Haram escape from SSS custody on March 30. There have been three tweets from his handle since 30 March but those are automated messages. So, his last known personal communications were on 30 March.

7. However, on Wednesday, the SSS spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, said she cannot confirm his arrest by the SSS. Significantly, she did not deny that they may have arrested him.

8. There is no certainty about his actual location or of his being alive.


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