Oct 15, 2011 – Police: Obasanjo Told us to Arrest The Nation’s Editors
The Nigeria Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Abubakar Ringim have explained that they arrested editors and three other staffers of Nigeria’s opposition newspaper, following a petition from former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo had complained over a 4 Oct. story carried by the paper, in which the former President was said to have written a ‘secret’ letter to President Goodluck Jonathan asking him to remove the heads of some key government agencies for alleged poor performance.
Obasanjo denied writing such a letter, accused the paper of forgery and threatened to sue it.
The Nation newspaper in turn reacted by publishing a copy of the letter – purportedly bearing Obasanjo’s signature – on its front page.
The police said it arrested the journalists following a complaint by the Nigerian former head of state accusing the journalists of engaging in a criminal act.
Speaking on the arrest yesterday, the police boss insisted that the complainant in the matter, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has the constitutional right to lay complaint to the Nigeria Police if his rights were trampled upon.
Though all the four arrested editors and three other staffers of Nigeria’s opposition newspaper, The Nation, have been freed, the House of Representatives has ordered a probe into the issue. Consequently, the Joint Committees on Justice, Police Affairs, Human Rights, Media and Publicity have summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafis Ringim, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, to appear before the Committees next Tuesday.
‘In this era of democracy, for people to waylay journalists and bring someone from Lagos to Abuja like a criminal should be condemned,’ a member of the House, Eziuche Ubani, said during a debate on the issue on the floor of the House Thursday (elombah)