Nigerian journalist docked for reporting that Akwa Ibom deputy governor pockets N250 million security vote

The police in Akwa Ibom, Friday, arraigned a journalist in the state, Nsibiet John, for criminal defamation and sedition.

Mr. John was brought before a senior magistrate in Uyo, Emmanuel Archibong, on the charge that he published a story in a local newspaper, The Ink, alleging that the Akwa Ibom deputy governor, Moses Ekpo, “pockets” N250 million monthly as security votes from the state government.

The police said that the offense was punishable under Section 58 (1) (C) of the criminal codes of Akwa Ibom State.

Mr. John pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was granted bail to the sum of N250, 000.

The case was adjourned to February 13.

Mr. John, who doubles as the publisher and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, was arrested on Thursday by police detectives from the Police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.

He had spent a night in the police cell, despite the reported assurance from the Commissioner of Police in the state, Murtala Mani, that he was going to be released that day.

Another editor of the paper who had gone to the police headquarters to see the detained journalist was reportedly arrested too and later released that same evening.

Mr. John was represented in the case by Ewa Okpo, the lead counsel, and two other lawyers – David Augustine and Inibehe Effiong.

“No government has ever defeated the press,” Mr. Effiong told journalists outside the courtroom.

“We commend the courage of His Lordship for releasing the journalist on bail. We want to assure the press that the human rights community will never abandon them in this struggle,” Mr. Effiong said.

“Akwa Ibom shall be free,” he added.

The state deputy governor, Mr. Ekpo, who is a veteran journalist himself, had come under intense criticisms especially on the social media, for the arrest of the journalist.

“It’s unacceptable for the government of Akwa Ibom State to harass and intimidate the media, leaving journalists to live in fear,” a Non Governmental Organization, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, said in a statement.

“Media freedom shouldn’t be fair game for the government of Akwa Ibom State or other states of the federation for that matter.

“SERAP believes that no one should be arrested simply for criticising public institution or public figures,” the group said.


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  • Matthew Okoliko

    What I don’t understand is this, should a journalist under the guise of press freedom just manufacture and write whatever suits him or her? I’m not defending the deputy governor but I must say journalists must guard against sensational reporting

    • Tayo

      and from your juncture the deputy should arrest anyhow. Even if the report is malicious, there are other ways to deal with the journalist

      • Matthew Okoliko

        Was it the deputy governor that arrested him? The police did on the complaints of the man. Soon you will say the deputy governor also charged him to court

        • Paul Young

          My brother what is the difference? Is the police not doing all this because of the pressure to do so from the deputy governor. If the journalist had written that Matthew Okoliko stole 10million naira will he have been arrested and charged to court?

  • westman

    Ok na.
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  • Mufu Ola

    If that journalist publish lie, he must be dealt with.The likes of him who just manufacture news in their dream& beer parlous abound around the country.If he’s guilty he must be jailed with no option of fine.There are too many lazy journalists & ignorant columnists in Nigeria.

  • Samy

    Funny enough, the state have not made clear their position on the truism or falsity of the report