In a renewed clampdown on journalists, The Publisher of The Ink Newspaper, Mr. NSIBIET John, yesterday arrested by men of the Nigeria Police. John reportedly collapsed while he was in police custody, Thursday.
The lanky journalist was taken to police cell at about 4pm after several statements were taken from him in a criminal defamation case instituted against him by the Deputy Governor of the State, Mr. Moses Ekpo popularly called Uncle Mo.
Nsibiet who is an ulcer patient has been starved of food since he was arrested early morning.
A petition of criminal defamation against the publisher was sent in to the Nigerian Police Force by the Deputy Governor signed by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor.
The publisher had raised alarm back in September that he escaped assassination attempts.
He was picked up this morning after being trailed for several months by the security outfit.
Yesterday morning, a mufty wearing police man who had stationed at Uma Ukpai Evangelistic Association, Four Lanes, flagged down Nsibiet’s vehicle after he drove out from his Osongama residence. Thinking that the person who flagged him down wanted a lift, Nsibiet stopped his car but on entering the vehicle, the man identified himself as a police officer, brought out a paper which showed Nsibiet’s number plate. He radioed force Headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia to confirm from the person on the other end of the conversation if it was the number plate they had earlier detailed him to work on. When it was confirmed, the police officer told the publisher that he was wanted at the force headquarters alongside the car. Immediately, a police Hilux van drove behind them enroute the force headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
On getting to the station, it was revealed that why he was in the station is not because of the alleged stolen car but a case of criminal defamation against the number 2 citizen of the state.
He was assaulted severally and treated as a common criminal. He was denied access to his lawyer and was later taken to a different room, stripped completely nude and threatened that his skin would be “designed” with knife if he doesn’t say how he got the Deputy Governor’s N250m security vote story.
When Journalists thronged the office of the State Commissioner for Police, Murtala Mani, the police boss had assured that the Eket born Media man will be released before he close from office.
But we learnt on good authority that immediately members of the fourth estate of the realm left CP Mani’s office, the police boss received a call from the Deputy Governor who is on a state exco retreat in Abuja that Nsibiet must be kept in detention and charged to court.
The CP however closed from work and left the force headquarters at exactly 5.30pm without Nsibiet’s release.
A top police source who spoke on condition of anonymity to this reporter at 6.37pm said that the possibility of Mr John being released today is very slim. The source said that there are too much pressure on the CP from above. The source said it is likely Nsibiet will be kept in their custody and charged to court tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Production Editor of The Ink Newspaper who was also detained when he went to visit his boss at the station was released at about 5pm.
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, has condemned the arrest.