Another Nigerian journalist arrested, flown to Abuja

Few hours after a detained journalist, Nsibiet John, was released on bail by a magistrate court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, another journalist has been arrested by the security operatives in that state.

Mr. John, publisher of an Akwa Ibom-based newspaper, The Ink,  was arraigned for reporting that the state deputy governor pockets N250 million monthly as security vote.

Shortly after his release, Jerry Edoho, the news editor of another local newspaper, Ibom Nation, was picked up in Uyo, Friday afternoon, by police personnel from the Force headquarters in Abuja, PREMIUM TIMES learned.

Mr. Edoho’s alleged offense is that on December 11 he published a post on Facebook about the rumoured crash of a Dana Air flight.

The management of Dana Air had quickly debunked the story as false and malicious.

In the Facebook post seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Edoho appeared to be referencing a rumoured air crash, while asking his readers to help verify the story.

“Rumor via social media (Facebook) has it that Dana Air en-route Abuja-Lag with 153 passengers crashed, killing all on board,” Mr. Edoho wrote on the Facebook post. “Pls could someone help verify the authenticity of this shocking report?”

He uploaded a photo of air crash scene, alongside the post.

Dana Air said the photo, including others circulated online with the false story, was that of a previous incident.

On Facebook, Mr. Edoho is also designated as the political news editor of another online publication,

The website, which reported Mr. Edoho’s arrest Friday, said when the journalist realised that the air crash story was indeed false, he helped share the rebuttal by Dana Air on his Facebook page.

Inibehe Effiong, a Lagos-based lawyer, who was in Uyo to defend in court, the publisher of The Ink newspaper, Mr. John, said he was on his way back to Lagos when he stumbled on Mr. Edoho at the Akwa Ibom International Airport, being whisked away by three plain cloth security men.

“I spoke with him for a few minutes when he was being taken away. He told me that he was being taken to Abuja over the rumoured Dana crash,” Mr. Effiong said.

“I tried to also speak to the security men, but they were quite unruly.”

Mr. Effiong said the security men moved the journalist to a restricted room at the airport, and that they were apparently waiting for a 4p.m. flight to Abuja.

When contacted, the police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom State, Cordelia Nwawe, said she was not aware of the journalist’s arrest.


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  • Paul Young

    How can a sane human being post on Facebook that there was a plane crash with 153 Nigerians on board killed without having any form of evidence at all to back it up. Not even a single newspaper carried any such rumor. That is madness in the highest order. Does he not know how sensitive aeroplane crash is in Nigeria?That is how they carry fake gist anyhow now in Nigeria. Very terrible.

    • So oju abe niko

      Paul, did you read this article at all? Please go back and read it. The fellow got a news and wanted to confirm the authenticity – that is not a crime anywhere.

      • Ajayi Ifayemi

        A journalist does not confirm things online from the whole world sir.

    • Dazmillion

      The man was only asking for clarification about a rumoured plane crash

      • Ajayi Ifayemi

        That is not how journalism is done. You do not publish a story, with purported pictures to boot, and then ask if it is true. Next time he will be more circumspect. This is how too many false rumours have been passing around as news. I believe that if it was just an ordinary person, no one will bother, but this a journalist for heavens sake!

        • Dazmillion

          Did you actually read the article. the man was asking ““Pls could someone help verify the authenticity of this shocking report?”

          Does that read like he was saying that a plane crashed for real?

        • They’re igbo-biafra’s let them kill themselves

    • Dr. Inih A. Ebong

      According to the Augustan poet, Alexander Pope, “A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep or touch not the Pyrian Springs”. Dear Paul Young, please always read and understand the stories you are commenting on before you expose your ignorance and little learning to the world.

  • thusspokez

    Mr. Edoho’s alleged offense is that on December 11 he published a post on Facebook about the rumoured crash of a Dana Air flight.

    I am sure that some of you are would already be itching to have a go at the law enforcement agencies, but looking at these arrests more calmly, one would say that sadly, for these dodgy one-man-band journalists, freedom of speech means freedom to publish rumours and innuendos and indeed any tosh as facts. And by so doing, they inadvertently provide dodgy politicians with the required evidence to prosecute them. The dodgy politicians, now emboldened by their success in prosecuting these dodgy journalists, will feel unhampered to intimidate other proper and serious journalists.

    Even as a mere poster on Internet forums, I make the effort to cross-check facts before I post my comments. Why can’t Nigerian journalists investigate subject matter as professional journalists do? Some Nigerian journalists — including those at saharareporters — give journalism a very bad name.

    These arrests and prosecutions should be a wake up call to Nigerian one-man-band journalists and indeed all Nigerian journalists to learn to be more professional and treat the ethics of journalism more seriously so as not to provide dodgy Nigerian politicians the materials to prosecute them.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    If he published the news item and it was false what harm did he do to the government or security operatives to necessitate his arrest. This country is really going down the toilet. If the company felt it suffered any business due to the news item it is the responsibility of the company to sue for damages instead of security arresting him. I think Nigeria is going on the path that would necessitate Nigerians arming themselves to ward off harassments, intimidations, murders by government forces. The security forces were meant to protect the citizens and not be tools in the arsenal of dictators.