Abia state government says it is not behind the arrest of Mr Iroegbu
Emenike Iroegbu was arrested by suspected men of State Security Service (SSS) says an official of Abia state government.
The Breaking Time reports that Iroegbu who publishes Abia Facts Newspaper, was arrested in front of his family by men suspected to be attached to the SSS field office in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.
The Abia state government has said that it has no hand in the arrest of blogger Emenike Iroegbu.
Iroegbu’s wife, Ekaette had told Inibehe Effiong, a human rights lawyer who called media attention to Mr Iroegbu’s arrest late Tuesday, that the blogger was being sought over contents published on his website.
Mr Effiong said some officials in Abia and Akwa Ibom states recently threatened Mr Iroegbu after publishing some materials they deemed critical.
“It is on record that the Abia State-born blogger has been constantly harassed by the agents and officials of the Abia State Government over his publications,” Mr. Effiong said.
“It is also on record that some government officials in Akwa Ibom state have been uncomfortable with some of his publications online.”
However, Enyinnaya Appolos, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia, was quoted by Premium Times, as saying that the state was not behind Mr Iroegbu’s arrest, but confirmed he was wanted in the state on offences bordering on “defamation”.
“He recently published an article saying the governor buried a 9-year-old in the Government House in Umuahia,” Mr. Appolos said on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are going to request that the SSS should transfer him to us after facing charges in Akwa Ibom.”
Some of the materials detailed how Mr Ikpeazu allegedly aided the killing of pro-Biafran agitators in the state.
The publication, quoting inside sources, also said Mr Ikpeazu had intensified diabolical activities within the Government House during his political battle with Uche Ogah, after the latter was issued a certificate of return by INEC.
“We’re writing to the SSS to send him to Umuahia because we want him to come and prove all these things,” Mr Appolos said.
Appolos said he could not confirm if Iroegbu had been transferred to Umuahia.
Within the past one year, Nigeria has witnessed an upsurge in arrests of citizens over their activities on the internet.
In August 2015, three bloggers —Demond Ike, Seun Oloketuyi and Chris Nwandu— were arrested and charged for offences that allegedly contravened Cybercrime Act in Lagos.
Mr Ike spent six months in custody, parts of which were in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison.
A month later, Emmanuel Ojo, was arrested in Abeokuta allegedly on the orders of Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, after posting some “offensive” materials on Facebook. The charges preferred against him remained stalled in the Abeokuta division of the Federal High Court.
Mr Ojo said he had since fled Nigeria to another West African country after “threats from powerful people became unbearable.”
On August 8, 2016, Abubakar Usman, a pro-government blogger, was also arrested and detained for nearly two days for apparently publishing a report critical of the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
“Democracy is being threatened in Nigeria by the rising display of intolerance to free speech,” Mr Effiong stressed.