The arrest and detention of a 38-year-old blogger, Iroegbu Emenike, by the State Security Service, SSS, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday has been condemned by the Coalition of Online Publishers in Akwa Ibom, COOPA.
The group described his arrest as “worrisome” and a breach of his fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
A statement signed by Ifreke Nseowo and Nelson Nse Abasi, Chancellor and Secretary General respectively read: “According to the wife of the blogger, Mrs. Ekaette Emenike Iroegbu, the blogger was arrested by three (3) SSS operatives who invaded their Uyo residence in a Gestapo style in a black jeep. The operatives took away the two phones of Mrs. Emenike; the bloggers own phones and laptop, etc. After ransacking their apartment, they whisked the blogger away without disclosing the reason for his arrest and their destination.
“We the Coalition of Online Publishers in Akwa Ibom (COOPA) hereby call on the SSS and other security agencies to resist being used as a tool by political office holders to clampdown on Nigerians for exercising their constitutional liberties. This means that democracy is being threatened in Nigeria by the rising display of intolerance to free speech.
“Those who believe that their reputation have been lowered in the eyes of right thinking members of the society should explore the legal option by seeking redress in a court of law instead of taking laws into their hands.
“This incessant arrests must stop, looking at similar cases in the West and in the North, now gradually becoming a norm across the nation.
“We believe that his immediate release will strengthen our democracy, and uphold the people’s trust in the government of the day.”