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October 23, 2008


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USAfricaonline.com MEDIAWATCH/News Release:

"Jonathan Elendu should be released, immediately; or be charged to court" says USAfricaonline.com Publisher on news blogger's detention in Nigeria.


"We're demanding the immediate release from Nigeria State Security Service (SSS) detention of news blogger Jonathan Elendu of Elendu Reports" -- according to a statement issued to the international, national media and human rights organizations by the Houston-based USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com Chido Nwangwu.

"USAfrica notes that Elendu's continued detention since October 17, 2008 without any court order, and his being kept without trial (if necessary) is a compound violation of his basic human rights, his position as a news blogger and undermines fairness under international laws and conventions which Nigeria is signatory to. If the SSS continues to say he abridged 'national security' interests, the objective and fair recourse in modern societies is the court system. USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet, is where Mr. Elendu first gained international prominence as a special correspondent and columnist. Mr. Elendu was arrested by the SSS upon his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport Abuja, on a flight which originated from the U.S., his place of residence."

8303 Southwest Freeway, Suite 100
Houston, Texas 77074

Phone: 713-270-5500
wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436)
e-mail: [email protected]


Those pictures of Yardua's son are quite revealing. All that cash in his bed! the guns the flashy cars, etc., and he is only 13! ... I can understand why the head of state will be pissed.

Ma Mary

This is the information age, even in Africa, Mr President. Perhaps you are to ill to control your little gangsta, and your family in general, but harassing journalists will only make it worse. Clean up your act. Regarding your extended health trip to Saudi Arabia, even I knew about it weeks before it hit the blogosphere. So much for secrecy. When will Saudis come to Nigeria for medical attention?

Jonathan Elendu

Thank You
Written by Jonathan Elendu
Thursday, 30 October 2008

On the evening of October 18, 2006, I arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja aboard a KLM flight. I had left my base, Lansing, Michigan for Nigeria the previous day. I was looking forward to coming home and finishing some projects I had started some months earlier. These projects are 2 documentary films I had started working on some months earlier and a stage show to celebrate the one year anniversary of Gov. Chibuike Amaechi.

I got to the Immigration counter at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and handed my passport to the officers there. This is something I had done several times in the past and I had no reason to suspect that this day will be any different. The Immigration officer took a glance at my passport and handed it over to another officer in plain clothes. The officer turned around and beckoned on another man in white caftan. The man, who later introduced himself as the director of the State Security Service (SSS) airport division, told me that he needed to chat with me and would wait until I picked up my luggage.

After picking up my stuff I headed to the Customs unit where they assessed duty and after I paid released my luggage to me. I had asked those who were waiting for me to take my luggage with them while I went to see the SSS officers. The director of SSS insisted that my luggage had to follow me to Yellow House, their headquarters near the Aso Rock Villa.

The SSS officers hired a van to convey one of their officers, my luggage and I to their headquarters from the airport. The driver of the van drove like a man who had an appointment to keep in hell. The road to town was not lighted and his headlights barely showed. I celebrated our getting to the offices of the SSS in one piece.

We got to the offices of the SSS at about 10:45 PM and that is how my 12 days in lock up began. It was the most harrowing experience of my life. On the 10th day I had access to my lawyers for the first time. This was after I was transferred from the SSS cell, where I was held in solitary confinement for 7 days, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cell. My lawyer told me about the outpouring of love and support for me from all over the world. I broke down and cried.

I cried because I had been told by the SSS that I was abandoned by my lawyers and family. I knew that to be false. I cried because I did not know that my plight was known to the world. I cried because I was just overwhelmed by the support and wondered if I had earned your love. And I cried for my country…

Words are not enough to tell you how grateful I am to each and every one of you. Many times I had doubted the wisdom of the path I had chosen for myself. Now I know it was the right path for me. I had tried to refocus and reposition my practice as a journalist. This led to my slowing down in reporting. This experience and your response to my plight have shown me that I was wrong.

I wish I could find stronger words to tell you how grateful I am. What better words can I come up with to better express my feelings for what you have done for me? Hard as I have searched, I can only come up with these two words: Thank you.

There have been stories and speculations as to what led to my arrest by the SSS and later the EFCC. The speculations continue even now that I have been released. There were also speculations as to what happened while I was in lock up. I even heard that I “sang” while in captivity. I have asked what tone I sang, what song I sang.

I am writing this note on a borrowed computer as my laptop, flash drives, cell phones, clothes, wallet, green card, credit and bank cards are still in the custody of the SSS. In fact, everything I came with from the States, apart from the clothes on my back are in the custody of the SSS.

When my stuff is released and after due consultations with my family and lawyers, I will tell the world what actions or inactions will follow. I have seen a doctor after my release on Wednesday. I am hoping to see my doctors in the United States soon. However, as soon as I get my laptop and get some little rest, I intend to give a full account of what transpired while I was in lock up.

This much I can tell you: They tried but did not succeed in breaking my will. If the idea was to cow me, I want you to know that I do not walk on all fours. If the intention was to use me as a scapegoat, please note that I do not bleat and I do not eat grass. If what I went through was to teach me a lesson. This much I have learnt. The servant leader has adorned the robes of a wicked Emperor. Ill-fitting as the clothes may be, he appears comfortable in the role.

These words are few and simple and yet mean so much to me: Thank you.

Email: [email protected]

Free the Bloggers!

Another Blogger, Emmanuel Emeke Asiwe of Huhuonline arrested at the airport in Lagos.

Last View on Fri 31st October, 2008
Last Modified on Fri 31st October, 2008 10:04:22 am
Author: Posted By Admin Sahara
The Yar'adua regime, in its renewed clampdown against free speech, has arrested another blogger, Emeka Asiwe, the publisher of Huhuonline.com.

According to family members, Asiwe was arrested at the Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos as he arrived from the United States. He was on the way to a funeral in the Eastern part of Nigeria. Shortly after his arrest, Asiwe was reportedly flown to the State Security Services headquarters to Abuja and detained. He has been allowed no access to lawyers or family members.

The arrest of the publisher of Huhuonline.com comes on the heels of the weeklong detention of another blogger, Jonathan Elendu of Elendureports.com. Elendu was released on Wednesday by the SSS after they had failed to sustain charges of sedition against the Michigan-based blogger. The SSS has, however, held on to his international passports and have threatened to re-arrest him if he continues to publish "subversive" reports against the Yar'adua regime.

Presidency sources confirmed to SaharaReporters that the regime has compiled names of "problematic" websites and their publishers as well as critical online writers and commentators and placed them at points of entry with dedicated secret service agents to pick up Nigerian citizens engaged in critical online publications.

SaharaReporters reporters have been specifically targeted by the Yar'adua regime because of our evidence–based reporting of the affairs of the regime even though our pages are open for rebuttals 24 hours a day. The federal government has never challenged our facts.

The harassment and detention of online publishers enjoys the blessing of Yar'adua, who gave the go-ahead and has adequately funded a special squad headed by the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Afas Gadzama, for this purpose.

Also, the Chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri was part of an elaborate plot to harass and possibly ensure the disappearance of Nigeria-focused online publishers and bloggers. In the past two weeks, she has assisted the prolonged SSS detention of Jonathan Elendu, thus confirming that the onslaught by the federal government is by teamwork.
It would be recalled that when the SSS had run out of excuses to keep Mr. Elendu, Mrs. Waziri offered her facilities to deny the blogger his freedom by keeping him at the headquarters of the EFCC while pretending they were investigating him for "money laundering".

SaharaReporters later reported the EFCC chairperson had in the last 46 days also ordered the detention of another online writer, Adamu Gwarzo. Mr. Gwarzo, a writer for a Swiss–based online website, AFRIQUECHOS remains in detention without charges being preferred against him.

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