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Ebonyi SSG drags journalist to court over sex story

*Alleged Enugu Chief Judge’s affair lands 2 journalists in detention

By Dennis Agbo

ABAKALIKI — EBONYI Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Fidelis Mbam, has dragged the publisher of Golden Truth Newspaper, a local tabloid based in the state, Mr. James Nwite, to an Abakaliki Magistrate Court for the publisher’s intent to investigate a story which alleged the SSG to be involved in a sex escapade.

Though the publisher was granted bail in the sum of  N100,000 with a surety and four passport photographs, he was detained for four days in Abakaliki Police custody.

The SSG’s ordeal is coming on the heels of a similar clamp down  on two journalists in Enugu State who have been detained in Enugu Prisons over a similar sex story allegedly involving the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Mr. Innocent Umezulike.

While Ebonyi SSG’s sex story is alleged to be with his housemaid, Enugu Chief Judge was alleged to have had an affair with a young girl in the house of a popular Enugu-based publisher.

Yet unpublished

All the journalists involved in both cases were at investigative stages of their stories when they were hounded into police custodies with either stringent bail conditions or no bail applications entertained.

According to Abakaliki Magistrate Court charge sheet, the local tabloid publisher, James Nwite, and one other now at large, on or before 9 April 2010 in Abakaliki did conspire with each other to commit felony to wit: Publishing defamatory matter with intent to extort and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516A.
When the matter came up for mention at Magistrate Court 4, Nwite pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge and was granted bail.

The presiding Magistrate, Mr. Alobu, later adjourned the matter till 9  June 2010.

Defence counsel speaks

Briefing newsmen immediately after the court session, the counsel to defendant, Mr. Onyeka Nwebonyi, said every  Nigerian had the right to go to court to seek redress on any matter, adding that he had not seen any publication by his client on the matter being alleged by the plaintiff.

“I maintain strongly that my client, the defendant, has not committed any offence in the eyes of the law,” he said.

The matter is coming on the heels of several harassment, intimidation and killing of journalists in different parts of the country.


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