12 September 1997


Journalist abducted; whereabouts of Nigerian Union of Journalists official unknown; "TELL" journalists file lawsuit against government

Incident details

Segun Olatunji, Oby Eke Agbai



(IJC/IFEX) - On 11 September 1997, a journalist with the "Daily Sketch"
newspaper, Segun Olatunji, was abducted by operatives of Operation Sweep, a
government anti-crime outfit, in the Pedro area of Lagos mainland. Olatunji,
who was returning from the weekly press briefing of the Lagos state Police
Public Relations Officer, was abducted around 1:55 pm. He said some men from
Operation Sweep suddenly swooped on him and some other persons, and whisked
them away to an unknown location, where they extorted money from them at gun
point, before releasing them later in the day.
(Updates IFEX alert dated 5 September 1997)

**New case, plus updates to cases as noted in text**

Anxiety has mounted in Owerri, Imo State, over the whereabouts of the
chairperson of the state's council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists
(NUJ), Oby Eke Agbai, who disappeared after she was discharged from a
private hospital where she was treated for injuries she received at the
hands of security men at Government House, Owerri on 3 September (see IFEX
alert). A delegation of the NUJ has been dispatched to the home of Agbai's
parents in Abia state to find out if she is there, while the search
continues in Owerri. Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of the state NUJ has
been scheduled for 12 September to discuss a series of assaults on
journalists at the Government House.
(Updates IFEX alert dated 10 September 1997)

"TELL" magazine editor-in-chief Nosa Igiebor, his wife, Arit, and their
three-year-old daughter, Obosa, jointly instituted a suit in the Federal
High Court, Lagos, on 11 September. In the suit, they are claiming a
cumulative sum of N15 million from the federal government as damages for the
violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Similarly, four editors of the magazine -- Igiebor, deputy editor-in-chief
Dele Omotunde, managing editor Onome Osifo Whiskey, executive editor Dare
Babarinsa -- and "TELL" Communications Limited also filed a suit in the same
court, seeking to restrain the federal government and its security agents
from harassing, intimidating or laying siege to their office and residences,
and arresting or detaining them. The two applications, which were bought
under Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, were instituted on
behalf of the applicants by Lagos-based lawyer Chief Gani Fawehinmi. The
respondents are the state security service (SSS), the Inspector General of
police and the Attorney General of the Federation.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the two applications. On 10
September, a dozen armed security men invaded the Igiebor residence. Arit
Igiebor was arrested and detained for several hours before being released
(see IFEX alert).


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