December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Nigeria

Nigeria November 22, 2006

H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo
Head of State
State House, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory
Federal Repubic of Nigeria
Fax: (011.234.9) 523-2136

Your Excellency:

The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent group of international correspondents, is dismayed to hear that sedition charges against Rotimi Durojaiye of the Daily Independent have not been dropped. Instead, the charges against him have been referred to a federal appeals court because prosecutors say he is not “remorseful.”

The charges against Durojaiye’s stem from his June 12 th story questioning the age and cost of the presidential jet. His story revealed that the federal government had not purchased a new Boeing jet, as had been officially reported, but a five-year-old airplane from Lufthansa. The story was later picked up by African Independent Television (AIT). Charges were subsequently brought against AIT presenter, Mike Gbenga Aruleba.

Aruleba and Durojaiye subsequently spent several days in jail in connection with the charges. In October, an Abuja court dropped charges against Aruleba and his news organization because they had shown “sufficient remorse,” according to prosecutors. But Mr. Durojaiye’s charges remained.

It is appalling that the federal government is punishing Durojaiye and attempting to suppress an embarrassing story ahead of next year’s elections. Nigeria ‘s reputation as a democracy is harmed by the charges against our colleague. We urge you to do all in your power to see that this injustice is ended, as it has been for our other colleague, Mike Aruleba.

We hope for the honor of a reply.

Respectfully yours,
Kevin McDermott
Norman A. Schorr
Co-chairmen – Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

George Obiozor

Ambassador of Nigeria to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

1333 16th Street, NW

Washington , DC 20036

Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

to the United Nations

828 Second Avenue

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 697-1970

John Campbell

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria

Embassy of the United States of America

P.O. Box 554

Lagos

Nigeria