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"The Punch" correspondent detained for refusing to disclose source, released on bail

(MRA/IFEX) - At about 2:00 pm (local time) on 25 March 2009, Olusola Fabiyi, the Abuja Chief Correspondent of the Lagos-based private daily, "The Punch", was detained by men of the Nigerian Police at the Force Headquarters in Abuja for refusing to write a statement on the source of a story. In the story, which was published in the paper on 23 March, the Action Congress (AC), one of Nigeria's opposition parties, alerted the public on an alleged plot to assassinate former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by an unnamed serving governor of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Six governors in North-Central Nigeria were reported to have petitioned President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Mike Okiro, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), over the allegation that one of them, not named, was behind the assassination plot. Fabiyi had gone to the Police Headquarters to follow up and update the initial news story which he co-authored with two others, when he was detained and questioned about the source of his story. The said news story entitled "North-Central Gov behind plot to kill Tinubu, says AC" with a rider "Police yet to receive petition", was co-authored by him and the duo of Mudiga Affe and Olalekan Adetayo.

A statement by Steve Ayorinde, the newspaper's Editor said: "Fabiyi told the Police that he wrote the story from a statement by the AC but also balanced it by speaking with the leadership of the PDP.

"Compelled to write a statement, he refused because Fabiyi said that he was not with a lawyer and that he was neither invited nor declared wanted by the Police.

"Not satisfied, the Police ordered his detention."

Even though Fabiyi was neither declared wanted by the Police nor was he charged with any offence, he was released at about 8:00 p.m. on bail.

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