Are We Back To Tyranny?
On Saturday, January 8, 2011, officers of the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) briefly detained Okey Ndibe, a columnist and professor who is also a member of our editorial team, upon his arrival at the Lagos International Airport. His Nigerian and American passports were seized and he has been directed to report to the SSS director on Monday. The government has yet to declare the reason for this violation of his rights.
We hereby call on the Nigerian Government to respect its own laws, immediately release Ndibe's passports and offer him an unreserved apology. The Nigerian state should also learn the virtue of toleration of those who are courageous enough to express opinions on issues affecting their country, or those who are at the forefront of making governments accountable to the people.
Harassment of journalists has no place in a civilized society. Freedom of expression is not the gift of the government to its subjects. It is a fundamental human right. It is only in a tyranny that journalists are harassed and intimidated.