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Akwa-Ibom Clamps down on Journalists

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

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, Newsday 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, 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, Ireportersng.com.
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.

He said he spoke with his client for a few minutes when he was being taken away. Mr Edoho told his lawyer that he was being taken to Abuja over the rumoured Dana crash.

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.

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