My ordeal in SSS detention — Nigerian author, Okey Ndibe

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Popular Nigerian author and columnist has lashed out at the State Security Service after being briefly detained at the international airport in Lagos.

In a message on his Facebook wall late Saturday, Okey Ndibe said he was taken in for questioning by the secret police.

He was believed to be coming in from the United States where he has lived since 1998.

The author and lecturer said the action of the SSS was due to his name being on a security watchlist.

He said his name was first added to the list in 2010 by the Umaru Yar’Adua administration, and that he was detained in a similar manner that year. 

He said he turned down today’s suggestions from SSS operatives that he should visit Abuja to have his name removed from the list.

The SSS could not be reached for comment as the department has failed to appoint a spokesperson for over a year.

Mr. Ndibe is known for his incisive commentaries on Nigerian public affairs, most of them addressing government ineptitude, corruption and human rights abuses.

Read Mr. Ndibe’s full statement on the encounter below:

“I had another irritating encounter with the SSS at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos. I told the officers who took me to their office for questioning that it’s shameful they salute and escort corrupt officials but harass a citizen who insists we can, and should, have a sane system based on true democratic values, the equality of all citizens before the law, and political accountability.

“For the record, the SSS officials were courteous throughout. Once again, they advised me to go to Abuja and apply to have my name expunged from their watchlist. No, I said. I did not go to Abuja in 2010 to ask the Umaru Yar’Adua administration to put me on a list of enemies of the state. I will not go to Abuja to plead that my name be removed from the list.

“I thank all of you who’ve written or called to inquire my wellbeing. I’m in wonderful spirits, far from cowed. Fear is a choice, I’ve chosen not to fear.”

 

PT

 

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