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Newspaper Correspondent alleges threat of arrest | Media Rights Agenda

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Newspaper Correspondent alleges threat of arrest

Sebastine Ebhuomhan
Sebastine Ebhuomhan, the Edo State Chief Correspondent of the “National Mirror” newspaper

On April 14, 2014, Sebastine Ebhuomhan, the Edo State Chief Correspondent of the “National Mirror” newspaper, went into hiding alleging that the Nigerian Army was planning to arrest and detain him indefinitely.

Ebhuomhan disclosed this in a press statement he issued, which he copied, among others, to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Uyigue Igbe; and the Chief of Army Staff. He said the plan to arrest him was hatched on April 13, 2014.

He alleged in the statement that the Brigade Commander, 4 Brigade of the Nigeria Army, Brigadier-General Okwudili Azenta, ordered his arrest because he reported the killing of one Matthew Adams at Isiuwa Primary School in the Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State during the rescheduled Edo South ward congress election of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ebhuomhan added that in an effort to carry out the order, the Public Relations Officer of the Command visited the Press Centre of the Edo State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Benin City on April 13, 2014 in search of him.

He stressed that he had “dutifully observed every known line of professionalism and ethical journalism” in his report and that he is convinced he has done no wrong in reporting this case of another extra-judicial killing.

Ebhuomhan therefore called on the authorities, including the State Government, the Federal Government, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the general public to take note of the directive to indefinitely detain him for carrying out his job as a journalist with a high sense of responsibility.

Ayode Longe, Media Rights Agenda’s programme manager, spoke with Ebhuomhan on telephone on April 15, 2014 during which he said he initially went into hiding. He disclosed he came out of hiding after Brig. Gen. Azenta, called him and asked him to come to the Command for a chat at between 3 and 4 pm on the same day.

He promised to honour the invitation but added he will go accompanied by the chairman, ex-chairman and secretary of the Edo State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists as well as a lawyer.

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