Friday, 6 February 2009

Nigerian News Blogger's Court Victory Throws Presidency Into Confusion

Impeccable Presidency contacts in Abuja have informed chidi opara reports that there is confusion in the Nigerian Presidency arising from the favourable court judgement secured by a news blogger, Mr. Emmanuel Emeke Asiwe, a United States Of America based Nigerian who was arrested and detained as he arrived the country late last year by the State Security Service(SSS). Mr. Asiwe publishes

The online news publisher was detained without charges and subsequently released without his travelling documents, precluding a return to his base. He consequently sued the SSS at a Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory division. The court in its judgement declared the arrest and detention illegal and ordered the return of the seized documents and a public apology. Another USA based news blogger, Mr. Jonathan Elendu, it will be noted, also sued the SSS for illegal arrest and detention and seizure of his travelling documents.

The confusion, according to contacts we interacted with, is because of worries over the effects of the judgement on planned future clampdown on "stubborn" news media organizations, especially those that publish on the Internet. The option of appeal is being considered, but we learnt that some influential Presidency strategists think that appealing the judgement may showcase the Presidency as being desperate to stiffle the news media. The other option of disobeying the judgement, we learnt also, will rubbish the often self promoted rule of law posture of the Administration.

"We are planning to invite the man to discuss how we can work out a compromse that will be satisfactory to all", a senior Presidency contact revealed to chidi opara reports. It is however, not known at the time of preparing this report, if the news blogger have been formally invited, but a contact very close to Mr. Asiwe's Lawyer informed us that, "it is not likely such meeting will hold". Independent checks however, revealed that some persons close to the Administration who Mr. Asiwe worked with in the past may be used to lobby him, but so far, chidi opara reports have not seen evidence of this.