Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu recently instigated the arrest of an Ughelli-based publisher of a local tabloid, Ughelli Times Magazine, Mr. Daniel Ekiugbo. The arrest was made by the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), Delta State Command.
Mr. Ekiugbo’s colleagues said the DSS arrested him in Ughelli over an alleged libelous report against the Minister, and he was taken to Asaba, head office of the service.
The publisher, who belongs to the Urhobo Media Group, has been neglected by his union members as well as the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, since his arrest.
A journalist speaking to SaharaReporters said, “We don’t have NUJ in Delta State. If a journalist is arrested, the leadership does not bother, especially when they see you are a crack journalist they can’t bend. When you report against some of their politician friends in or out of government, they leave you to rot there. Until more credible and serious minded people are elected to lead the union in Delta State, journalists will continue to suffer”.
“In most cases, the leadership sells you to security agents, and that’s what we face here in Delta State. When you have state government staffers at the helm of affairs of a union like the NUJ, that is what you see. All they do is in the interest of the government and to the detriment of members,” the journalist added.
Details of Mr. Ekiugbo’s arrest is unknown. A DSS source confirmed his arrest to SaharaReporters but refused to give details.
“Though I can’t give you details on his arrest, it is not much of an issue as we just want to confirm some things from him. These issues include a publication against the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, among others I can’t divulge to you now, hence he was brought in for interrogation,” the source said.