Police Detain Nigerian Journalist Over Facebook Post

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The Police in Katsina State have detained a journalist in the state, Danjuma Katsina, over alleged “injurious comments” on a newly elected member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives from the state, Mansur Mashi.

A colleague of the journalist, Zaharadeen Umar, said Mr. Katsina was invited to the state’s Police Command around 8 p.m. on Saturday to explain himself over a complaint filed by the lawmaker. However, the police detained the journalist after taking his statement.

Mr. Katsina had posted a comment on Facebook in which he analyzed the outcome of the Mashi/Dutsi bye-election conducted in May, wondering why Mr. Mashi was allowed to contest the polls despite facing court action on alleged corruption.

The journalist was detained overnight despite efforts by the Katsina state branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, and officials of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, to secure his release.

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There have been increasing cases of arrests and harassment of journalists and bloggers in Nigeria, often on the orders of politicians.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported many cases of harassment of journalists and blogger, this year alone. Last month, a reporter in Kaduna state was brutalized and arrested at his point of duty. In September, a blogger was detained for 22 days for criticizing the Bauchi State governor.

The Katsina Police spokesperson, Gambo Isah, said he was unaware of the journalist’s arrest but promised to find out and get back. However, he neither got back nor picked subsequent follow-up calls put through by this reporter.

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