SSS Detain Journalist over Interview with Doctoron COVID-19

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Mr. Kufre Carter, Detained journalist
Mr. Kufre Carter, Detained journalist

The State Security Service (SSS) on April 27, 2020, arrested and detained Mr. Kufre Carter, a journalist in Akwa Ibom State, over an audio clip from his interview with a doctor on COVID-19, which he allegedly circulated on social media.

Kufre in the audio clip interviewed an anonymous medical doctor where he alleged foul play perpetrated by the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, to manipulate the figures of COVID-19 tests in the state to downplay its magnitude.

He was taken into custody by SSS operatives after his visit to the state office in company of his lawyer, Augustine Asuquo.

His lawyer said he was not granted access to witness the interrogation of his client and was walked out of the premises by the security agents.

He said Nnatube later contacted him, demanding Kufre’s phone so that they could extract the purported audio recordings of the interview adding, the operatives also requested for the phone number of the anonymous doctor.

InibeheEffiong, Head of InibeheEffiong Chambers who also offers legal representation to Kufre in a statement alleged his client was being tortured by the SSS operatives to forcefully obtain a confession from him.

Inibehe said: “From all indications, we reasonably believe that SSS officers are torturing Kufre Carter in their custody in their effort to extract a ‘confessional statement’ from our client. The SSS is torturing our client for him to hand over his private mobile phone to them.”

The lawyer said he had called Nnatube on phone to express his displeasure with his office’s handling of the case, but his calls were ignored.

He said he was aware that the Akwa Ibom State Government instigated the DSS to hunt, arrest, torture and detain Kufre over the alleged audio record after facing increasing public criticisms over their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

He also disclosed that Kufre’s house had been searched by the SSS illegally looking for his personal phone.

The lawyer called on Nigerians and the international community to prevail on the SSS in Akwa Ibom State to act as a responsible law enforcement agency and release Kufre immediately, and stop behaving like colonial police for politicians and public office holders in Akwa Ibom State.