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Nigerian publisher arrested over article -editor

Posted by Reuters on 2005/10/12 | Views: 353 |

Nigerian publisher arrested over article -editor


A Nigerian newspaper publisher has been arrested by secret police in the oil city of Port Harcourt because of an article that offended the state government, the newspaper's editor said on Wednesday.

A Nigerian newspaper publisher has been arrested by secret police in the oil city of Port Harcourt because of an article that offended the state government, the newspaper's editor said on Wednesday.

Plainclothes officers from the State Security Service (SSS) detained publisher and editor-in-chief Owei Kobina Sikpi of the independent Weekly Star at the paper's printing press on Tuesday, editor Obinna Ahiaidu said.

"It's in connection with a story published in the latest edition ... The SSS arrested him under orders by the state government," Ahiaidu told Reuters. He said a source in the government of Rivers State had given him this information.

Rivers State spokesmen were not immediately available for comment. The state's police commissioner said he was not aware of Sikpi's arrest.

The SSS was added to a blacklist of enemies of freedom earlier this year by watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.

Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999 following 15 years of military dictatorship. Since then press freedom has improved and dozens of national and regional newspapers frequently publish articles critical of government.

But there have been occasional cases of newspapers falling foul of the authorities. In May, one editor was detained over a story that linked President Olusegun Obasanjo's wife to a property scandal.

Ahiaidu said four workers from the Weekly Star printing press had also been taken away by the plainclothes officers, although they were released later on Tuesday.

He said his government source had told him Sikpi was in trouble over an article that made damaging allegations against Rivers State Governor Peter Odili.

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