Police arrest Akwa Ibom based journalist over Facebook post

Some operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested a journalist based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Jerry Edoho over a Facebook post involving a Dana Air crash.

According to The Punch, the policemen whisked him away at the Akwa Ibom airport.

After his arrest, Edoho, who is the Deputy Editor of Ibom Nation Newspaper, a local publication was put on a Dana Air flight heading to Abuja.

Edoho, had reacted to a photograph of a purported crash involving a Dana flight heading to Lagos from Abuja in which he was tagged.

He sought clarification from friends on his list to confirm the authenticity of the story.

He had written, “Rumor via social media (Facebook) has it that Dana Air enroute Abj-Lag with 153 passengers crashed killing all on board. Please could someone help verify the authenticity of this shocking report? Below is (the) pix from the scene as uploaded on my wall.”

As the photograph became a topic of discussion among Facebook users, Dana Air petitioned police authorities in Abuja leading to Edoho’s arrest in Uyo on Friday.

Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who confirmed the incident on Friday shortly before leaving Uyo for Lagos, said he saw three plain-clothes security officers forcibly taking Edoho away while still at the Ibom International Airport, Uyo.

He said, “Jerry Edoho sighted me at the Ibom International Airport, Uyo, and alerted me that he was being taken forcibly to Abuja by a team of plain-clothes security men over a publication on Facebook.

“He told me that he was tagged in a post about the recent rumoured crash of a Dana plane, which was false. That, upon being tagged, he made a post like several other Nigerians asking whether the crash report was true. The security men were to convey him to Abuja via a Dana flight that was scheduled to depart by 4pm.

“The security men confronted me for speaking with him ‘without their permission.’ I retorted that Mr. Edoho is a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that his right to freedom of expression cannot be taken away. This resulted in an altercation between me and the security men whose identity I cannot immediately ascertain. I understand that his arrest followed a petition by Dana Air to the Nigeria Police Force.

“I am using this platform to urge both the police and the management of Dana Air to respect the fundamental rights of Mr. Edoho. He should be released on bail pending the conclusion of investigation into whatever allegations that have been made against him. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.”

Spokesperson for Dana Air, Mr. Kingsley Ezenwa, said he wasn’t aware of the issue as at the time he was contacted.

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