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Security Agents Briefly Shut Radio Station, Detain Journalists Overnight

 

On 17 December 2005, armed policemen and agents of the State Security Service (SSS), Nigeria's intelligence service, shut down a privately-owned radio station, Rhythm 93.7 FM, in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State in the oil-rich Niger Delta.  The security agents also arrested David Obi, Head of News, and Loknan Dombim, Programmes Manager, of the station and detained them overnight. 

 

The station, which was re-opened hours later, was accused of broadcasting false information, in which it allegedly reported that the Choba Bridge on the outskirts of the city had collapsed, thereby causing panic among residents.  The bridge is reported to be intact.

 

The Rivers State Commissioner of Information, Mr.  Magnus Abe, in a statement in the night of 17 December criticized the "broadcast of false information" by the station and promised that the government would deal with such broadcast of falsehood.

 

But the station has denied reporting that the bridge collapsed.

 

Azubuike Osumili, news editor at the Lagos office of Rhythm 93.7 FM, told Media Rights Agenda that the two journalists arrested and detained by the SSS were released on 18 December but asked to be reporting to the SSS offices daily.

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