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Nigerian correspondent held hostage by state security forces

(MRA/IFEX) - 17 December 2012 - 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 until the 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 in a hospital in India since September for an undisclosed ailment. There were rumours over the weekend that Chime had died.

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

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