23rd December, 2011
The Benue Police Command has raided the house of a Makurdi-based journalist, Mr. Henry Ibya, taking away his wife, child and 60-year old uncle over a story on Governor Gabriel Suswamâ€™s wife.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an item entitled: â€œHow Gov. Suswamâ€™s wife duped Benue of N100 million,â€ was published in Wednesdayâ€™s edition of the â€˜Western Premierâ€™ newspaper.
The story chronicled how the governorâ€™s wife allegedly misappropriated the sum of N100 million meant for the celebration of an occasion tagged â€œCelebrating the Benue woman.â€
NAN learnt that the publication set the journalist on a collision path with the government which ordered his arrest and prosecution.
Family sources told NAN that Ibyaâ€™s house was raided at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday while he had yet to return.
They said the police came in two vehicles and whisked away the family members.
A cross-section of journalists in Makurdi expressed dismay at the arrest of their colleagueâ€™s wife, saying that it was wrong to visit the sins of a person on another.
They said that the action was capable of severing the relationship between the police and the media in the state.
The police, however, denied detaining the journalistâ€™s wife, child and elderly uncle.
They explained that the woman was invited for questioning but was never put in the cell.
Mr. Anthony Njoku, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (CID), told journalists that the police only invited the woman for questioning and never detained her.
Njoku said the woman had been released together with the child and uncle.
He, however, appealed to journalists to prevail on the fleeing journalist to report himself to the police to answer charges of publishing a vexatious item about the governorâ€™s wife.
Ibya had earlier written a story on the governorâ€™s Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, entitled: â€œSex rocks Suswamâ€™s administration,â€ which also pitted him against the government.