Skip to main content

SSS plans to re-arrest Jonathan Elendu from the EFCC as he embarks on hunger strike

December 30, 2008
A reliable source has informed SaharaReporters that officials of the State Security Services (SSS) that quietly transferred detained blogger Jonathan Elendu to the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday night, are planning to re-arrest him from the custody of the anti-corruption agency. A source said the re-arrest plan was perfected last night in Abuja.

SSS officials picked up Mr. Elendu a week ago on his arrival from the U.S.

Last Friday night government of Umaru Yar’Adua and SSS officials were stung by public condemnation of the unlawful detention of the blogger. A source within the SSS told Saharareporters the agency was in a bind after its lawyers advised that the body could not sustain sedition charges against Elendu. The agency then decided to hand Elendu over to the EFCC so as to keep him incommunicado until Monday.

According to Elendu's lawyer, Ugo Moumah, the SSS had earlier invited him to apply for Elendu's bail, but when he arrived at the agency’s headquarters to initiate the necessary procedures to guarantee the blogger’s freedom, he was told that the detainee had been "released." He said officials of the agency refused to tell him to whom Elendu was released.

However, our investigations revealed that Elendu’s release to the EFCC had been delayed until it was too late for his lawyer to apply for administrative bail from the EFCC. A source close to the blogger said he had embarked on a hunger strike. We were not able to confirm the information from any EFCC or SSS sources. The EFCC has denied that Elendu is in their custody, even though SaharaReporters confirmed that he was transferred to the Wuse II, Abuja offices of the EFCC.

In an interview with our correspondent, an Abuja-based lawyer described Elendu’s reported detention by the EFCC as “proxy detention.” He said the EFCC’s role revealed a new pattern by the anti-corruption agency to act as a jailer of journalists and online reporters. SaharaReporters investigations also revealed that another online journalist, Adamu Gwarzo, has been detained on the orders of the EFCC chairperson, Mrs. Farida Waziri for close to one month. Gwarzo has sued the anti-corruption agency for violations of his fundamental human rights.

 One source told us that Elendu is being pressured to apologize to Umaru Yar'adua for publications allegedly offensive to the regime. The source said his SSS interrogators accused him of sponsoring numerous online publications that have carried reports and photographs critical of the Yar’Adua regime. The recent plan to arrest was a ploy to keep him out of reach from his lawyers and family members until the government could extract an apology from him.

SaharaReporters has issued a statement indicating that it has no financial, professional or other ties to Elendu.


googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('comments'); });

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content1'); });

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content2'); });