Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Arrested at Nigerian Newspaper

Activists and other journalists have criticised the Nigerian government and the police for arresting 7 employees of The Nation newspaper on charges of forgery and defamation after one journalist published a story about the level of presidential influence in the country. Associated Press have reported that several of those arrested had nothing to do with the story, with police arresting them simply because they could not immediately find the newspaper's senior management.

The story at the heart of the controversy, written by journalist Yusuf Alli, alleged that former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to current leader Goodluck Jonathon urging him to replace the leaders of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund and four other agencies with his own candidates. This story came too close to home for Nigeria’s government, since it involved leaders from the Christian South (Obasanjo and Jonathon) recommending that agency leaders from the Muslim North are replaced. The police demanded that Alli reveal his source, and since he refused to do so he was then threatened with sedition charges on the grounds that he intended to cause separation between north and south.

All seven have now been released.

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