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Nigerian journalists freed following interrogation over source

Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzo Ukaibe, who were among the four journalists detained by Nigerian police on Monday 8 April 2013, were released on the evening of Tuesday 9 April. They were allegedly being held for questioning over the source of a document that their newspaper, Leadership, published last week, which the newspaper said was a leaked directive from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to a statement sent to IPI by Leadership newspaper last night, their release was subject to the condition that the journalists report to police headquarters by 10 am every day for undisclosed reasons. Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe and Chuks Ohuegbe, the other two journalists, had been released on Monday 8 April on the same condition.

The statement from Leadership said: “We wish to restate that these conditions are obnoxious and unacceptable in any democratic society.”

The journalists' detention is unfortunately consistent with recent comments made by other Nigerian officials, who, despite saying they are in favour of press freedom, also show a clear distrust of the press.

Speaking at a press breakfast in Vienna, Austria on April 9, Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru said that his government would “support democracy everywhere in Africa,” but also noted: “I believe the media in Nigeria is one of the freest… They are so free, in fact, that they write whatever they want to and you are at their mercy.”

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Newspaper reporters released conditionally after two days

    Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn of their release but regrets that it is only conditional. The two journalists will have to report to the police headquarters every day. "They want to know the identity of our sources at all costs," Tony Amokeodo told Reporters Without Borders.

  • Nigeria police harass "Leadership" staff over memo

    Police had previously visited the newspaper's Abuja office three times demanding to see the journalists who wrote the story on the presidential memo, "Leadership" reported.

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