Security Operatives Detain Newspaper Correspondent, Prevent Him from Sending News Stories
Operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) on December 15, 2012 at about 11.00pm apprehended the Enugu State correspondent of The Punch newspaper, Mr. Ozioma Ubabukoh, as he drove into his residence. They confiscated his laptop and mobile phones, and detained him in his house, thereby preventing him from writing any news story for his newspaper.
Recounting his ordeal, Mr. Ubabukoh said on the fateful day, he was accosted by seven men as he drove into Corporation Boulevard in the Trans-Ekulu area of Enugu, where he lives. He said the men blocked his car to prevent him from driving further. They ordered him to open the door of his car, threatening to use force if he disobeyed. He obeyed and two of them got into his car.
Mr. Ubabukoh said the security men told him they wanted to ensure that he would not write any story that night (Saturday) concerning the rumoured death of Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime.
He said they ordered him to drive into his compound and warned that should he scream, they would get tough with him. They thereafter seized his BlackBerry and removed the SIM card which they gave to him.
He recalled that when he asked who they were, they told him they were from the SSS but when he asked them to show their identity cards as proof, one of them got angry and said he does not ask people for their identity cards when writing his stories and so he should not ask them for their identity cards while they are doing their work.
They ransacked his apartment and seized his laptop. They left his apartment after informing him that they would be waiting in the staircase till 3am. They promised to return his Blackberry and laptop before leaving.
Mr. Ubabukoh said at about 4am, he received a call that informed him that his Blackberry and laptop were under his car and when he got there, he found them as he was told.
The SSS operatives reportedly took the measures in order to prevent him from writing any story on the deteriorating health of Governor Chime, who has been on admission for an undisclosed ailment in a hospital in India since September 2012 and was being rumoured that weekend to have died.