Publisher Arrested, Detained over Publication


On November 30, 2016, Mr. Friday Ogungbemi, publisher of a monthly community magazine, Policy and Lawmakers Magazine, was arrested and detained by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Lokoja, Kogi State.

His arrest is suspected to be in connection with an article in the November 23 – December 15, 2016 edition of the magazine, which took  a critical view of the Chief of Staff to the governor of Kogi State, Edward Onoja.

The ‘offensive’ article published in the November 23 – December 15, 2016 edition of the Policy and Lawmakers magazine is titled Overzealous Chief of Staff acts Governor Extraordinaire, Ebira Nation must rise to the rescue.

The Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and publishers of community-based newspapers in the state condemned the arrest and detention, describing it as the height of impunity adding that it was an attempt to muzzle the press in the state, saying it was “unnecessary and uncalled for.”

In its reaction, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kogi council on December 5 directed journalists in the state to boycott government activities in protest against Ogungbemi’s arrest and detention.
Ogungbemi  was detained for one week and released on December 7, 2016 following the bail granted him by a Lokoja magistrate court. The Court granted him bail in the sum of N20, 000 with a surety in like sum while the case was adjourned till December 20 for hearing.

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State had in a recent broadcast reportedly vowed to deal with any journalist who engaged in “irresponsible journalism.”