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Four newspaper editors arrested

(MRA/IFEX) - On October 11, 2011, at about 2pm local time, nine police officers led by Mr. Emma Ogolo from the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Lagos stormed the Lagos offices of "The Nation", a privately owned daily newspaper, and arrested some of its senior staff.

The policemen arrested Mr. Lawal Ogienagbon, the deputy editor of "The Nation", and Mr. Dapo Olufade, the news editor of the newspaper's Saturday and Sunday editions. Similarly, detectives in Abuja, Nigeria's federal capital, had earlier in the day arrested Mr. Yusuf Alli, the managing editor in charge of northern operations, and Mr. Yomi Odunuga, the Abuja bureau chief, and detained them at the Nigerian Police Headquarters. Mr. Ogienagbon was reportedly later flown to Abuja after writing a statement.

Ms. Dupe Olaoye-Oshinkolu, the newspaper's labour correspondent, and Mr. Jide Adegbenjo, its chief security officer, who volunteered to go with them, were also detained.

Mr. Kunle Fagbemi, the newspaper's general editor, said in a statement that "Nine detectives, led by Mr. Emma Ogolo, came in two vehicles, a white-coloured Rover Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), marked PFN 357 B, and a blue-coloured Peugeot 504 Salon car, marked 2413 B. 'The Nigeria Police Force, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit' was inscribed on the sides of the SUV."

"Three of the detectives entered the premises of the company on 27B, Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Mushin, while the two vehicles parked outside the gate had three men waiting in them. In each of the waiting vehicles were an armed policeman, a plain-clothes security operative and the driver."

The statement added that Olufade was arrested because the detectives could not find any of the other four senior editors they were looking for, among whom were Mr. Kunle Fagbemi, the general editor; Mr. Waheed Odusile, managing editor; Mr. Adesina Adeniyi, deputy editor, news; and Mr. Bolade Omonijo, group political editor."

The detectives initially asked to see Mr. Victor Ifijeh, the managing director/editor-in-chief, and Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, the editor, who were not in the office at the time.

The raid and arrests are believed to be over the October 4, 2011, cover story of "The Nation", entitled "Obasanjo's 'secret' letter to Jonathan stirs anger; Ex-President seeks sack of PTDF chief, four others".

The police invasion paralysed work at the newspaper house for many hours and unsettled staff who witnessed the raid.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- Calling on the leadership of the Nigerian Police to immediately release the editors and seek legal redress if it thinks it has a case against the media house
- Asking the Minister of Information and Communications to intervene to ensure the release of the journalists


APPEALS TO:

Mr. Hafiz Ringim
Inspector General of Police
Force Headquarters
Loius Edet House
Shehu Shagari Way
Area 11 Garki,
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9 234 0633 / 0422
Fax: +234 9 234 0422
E-mail: [email protected]

Mr. Labaran Maku
Hon. Minister for Information and National Orientation
Federal Ministry of Information Radio House
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9 234 6350, 234 9 234 6351;
234 9 523 7183; 234 9 523 8232; 234 9 234 4107
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