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Newspaper editor reportedly harassed by police following publication of allegedly defamatory advertisement

(MRA/IFEX) - On 21 February 2008, the management of a Lagos-based national daily newspaper, "The Nation" alleged that its editor, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho was being harassed by policemen. The legal adviser of the newspaper, Folake Adeoye, said the policemen came from Ekiti State in South-west Nigeria.

In a 21 February statement Adeoye said, "three policemen, led by Chief Superintendent of Police, Obiozo Uche, were in our office at Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos yesterday at about 1:20 p.m. (local time)."

The policemen initially pretended to be advertisers when they arrived at the newspaper's security post, but upon being taken to the reception, they demanded to see Omotosho, the editor.

The policemen told Omotosho that they had instructions from the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State to arrest and bring him to Ado-Ekiti, the State capital, following a complaint made by Chief Afe Babalola, lawyer to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, that he had been libelled in an advertisement published in "The Nation" newspaper in 2007.

But Omtosho told the policemen that the process of placing advertisements in newspapers does not require that the editor should necessarily see every advert, adding that he did not see the advertisement in question.

The policemen left the newspaper office at about 2:30 p.m. (local time) after Mr. Omotosho declined to accompany them.

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