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Arrested Nigerian blogger regains freedom

By Samuel Ogundipe

Emenike Iroegbu, a Nigerian blogger arrested by suspected State Security Service operatives on Tuesday, has been released, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Three individuals suspected to be from the SSS picked Mr. Iroegbu from his home in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Tuesday afternoon. his wife, Ekaette, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Iroegbu, who publishes Abia Facts Newspaper, was subsequently transferred to Umuahia field office of the SSS in Abia State where state agents grilled him on allegations bordering on defamation.

“They confronted me with some documents and said they printed them out from my website,” Mr. Iroegbu told PREMIUM TIMES shortly after his release Wednesday evening. “I denied all the allegations.”

Mr. Iroegbu said his website was cloned to make it appear as if he published libelous contents against Okezie Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia State.

“They don’t like the fact that we’re the only independent medium in Abia and Akwa Ibom States,” Mr. Iroegbu said. “But I thank God the SSS officials showed some understanding, released me and gave me all the items they seized from me without any conditions.”

Enyinnaya Appolos, spokesman to Mr. Ikpeazu, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that Mr. Iroegbu was being sought in Abia State for allegedly writing on his blog that a nine-year-old was buried inside the Government House in Umuahia for rituals.

Civil rights activist, led by Inibehe Effiong, Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, slammed the Nigerian government over what was described as the latest in a series of “emerging capricious proclivities of political office holders to use security agencies to clamp down on Nigerians for exercising their constitutional liberties.”

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