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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
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.
Norman A. Schorr
Co-chairmen – Freedom of the Press Committee
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 Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
to the United Nations
828 Second Avenue
New York , NY 10017
Fax: (212) 697-1970
U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O. Box 554