17 December 2012

Nigeria: Correspondent Held Hostage By State Security Forces

press release

On 15 December 2012, at about 11:00pm, operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), Nigeria's domestic intelligence agency, apprehended the Enugu State (southeast Nigeria) correspondent of The Punch newspaper, Mr. Ozioma Ubabukoh, as he drove into his residence. They confiscated his laptop, mobile phones and detained him in his house, thereby preventing him from writing any news story for his newspaper.

Mr. Ubabukoh said the SSS men blocked him at the entrance of his residence in Trans-Ekulu area of Enugu metropolis, got into his car and asked him to surrender his phones and laptop, warning him not to dare write any story for his newspaper that night.

He said the operatives went with him into his apartment and confiscated his laptop and held him hostage till early hours of Sunday, 16 December 2012, before they left, when it became obvious they had accomplished their mission.

The SSS operatives reportedly took the measures in order to prevent him from writing any story on the deteriorating health of the state governor, Sullivan Chime, who has been on admission for an undisclosed ailment in a hospital in India since September and was being rumoured over the weekend to have died.

On 26 October 2012, security men attached to Mrs. Clara Chime, wife of Governor Chime, assaulted a photojournalist with the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Agada at Amebota Village in Enugu State while taking photographs at the funeral ceremony of an in-law to one of the special advisers to the governor when the police officers seized his camera. The policemen smashed the camera, Nikon D300 professional camera and a SB 800 flashgun, reportedly worth about NGN 700,000 (about US$4,430).

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