Arrested and detained for Photographing Statue
On January 10, 2008 at about 4.30 pm local time, two journalists,
Fidelis Mbah of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Tade
Oludayo of Silverbird Television and Rhythm FM radio, were arrested and
detained by government security agents in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital
in South-west Nigeria, for taking photographs of a statue of 'the
Unknown Soldier' recently erected and unveiled at the front of
"Government House" in Ibadan.
They were detained at the security post at the gate to the Government
House until they were released at about 5.30pm, following the
intervention of the Aide-de-Camp to the state governor, identified
simply as Salami.
Alao-Akala of Oyo State
Narrating their experience, Oludayo said they had sought and got
clearance from the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public
Communication, Mr. Dotun Oyelade, and the state Commissioner for
Commerce, Dr. Kola Balogun, before going to the site.
He said they had just begun taking photographs of the Remembrance Arcade
and the statue when some policemen attacked them and arrested them
adding that the intervention of Balogun and Oyelade from whom they had
earlier obtained clearance did not impress the policemen.
The digital video camera used by Oludayo was damaged by the policemen
who forcefully seized it from him. They were subjected to series of
embarrassing questions by the policemen with some threatening to shoot
Oludayo said while being detained: "The Guard Commander blamed the
policemen for not shooting us. He said we are security risks as we have
been attracting unnecessary attention to the statue."
"The GC asked us what was special about the statue that needed the
attention of the BBC. He said there were many statues in Ibadan and that
we should go and take their pictures."
The Oyo State government came been under intense criticism from January
7, 2008 when Governor Alao-Akala unveiled the new sculpture to replace
an earlier one of the late prominent politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo,
erected by former governor Lam Adesina.