Two editors of the opposition weekly magazine "The News," Bayo
Onanuga and Babafemi Ojudu, have been arrested by Nigerian
security authorities. Citing the Constitutional Rights Project, a
Lagos-based human rights group, Reuters said Onanuga and Ojudu
had been detained since 11 August 1996 over an article about Oil
Minister Dan Etete entitled "The Man Abacha Cannot Touch."
According to CPJ's sources in Nigeria, "The News" alleged that
Etete was giving government contracts on behalf of the Nigerian
State Oil Company to his family and friends. Despite these
allegations, the government has not set up an inquiry into the
awarding of contracts at the State Oil Company.
The two editors were taken by State Security Services (SSS)
officers to the notorious Shagisha prison in the outskirts of
Lagos. Neither Onanuga nor Ojudu were formally charged.
On 13 August, Ojudu was released. However, Onanuga has since been
transferred to the Lagos State Federal Intelligence Office at
Since 1993, journalists working for "The News" have been
harassed, arrested, and detained by the government. In 1995,
Kunle Agibade, a journalist with the magazine, received a
sentence of life in prison -- later commuted to 15 years -- on
charges of treason and conspiracy. In addition, the magazine's
offices have been raided and its property destroyed, prompting
its owners to close five of the magazine's nine bureaus in key
cities such as Abuja and Port Harcourt.