22 October 1997


Five journalists arrested while attempting to cover rally; two editors released

Incident details

Casmir Igbokwe, Wisdom Dike, Joseph Ollor-Obari, Tokunbo Awoshakin Doifie Ola



(IJC/IFEX) - Five journalists were arrested and detained on 18
October 1997 at Ogbia Town, Bayelsa State. The journalists -
Casmir Igbokwe of "The News", Wisdom Dike "The Week", Joseph
Ollor-Obari of "The Guardian", Tokunbo Awoshakin of "This Day"
and Doifie Ola of "Post Express" - were in Ogbia Town to cover a
rally being organised by the youths of the district to protest
the activities of the Shell oil company and the Nigerian
government in the Niger Delta. Security men swooped on Ogbia to
abort the rally, but the organisers secretly shifted the venue to
Itokopiri, a neighbouring town. The journalists, unaware of the
change, were still trying to locate the new venue when they were
arrested. They were subsequently detained, subjected to rigorous
interrogation and released hours later with a strong warning that
they must not publish any story on the incident.

**New case, plus update to IFEX alert of 21 October 1997**

Bayelsa, a coastal and oil-producing state on the Niger River
Delta, was carved out of the old Rivers State.

Meanwhile, Demola Abimboye, associate editor of "The News", and
Gbenga Alaketu, assistant editor of "TEMPO", were released on the
evening of 19 October. The two journalists, who were arrested on
17 October, said that during their detention they were
interrogated on several stories published in recent editions of
their magazines (updates IFEX alert of 21 October 1997).


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