Alfred Egbegi, publisher of a privately-owned weekly newspaper Izon Link based in Yenogoa, theBayelsaState capital in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, expressed fear that his life may be in danger as officials of the state government and security operatives were trailing him over a story published in the April 10 edition of the newspaper.
The story, published in the Volume 7, Number 8 edition of the newspaper, carried the headline “Ebebi cries out: Jonathan is stabbing me”. The story alleged political intrigues between the state governor and his deputy over who would contest the forth coming 2007 general elections to govern the State.Egbegi said since April 10, 2006, when the newspaper hit the newsstands, he had been receiving anonymous phone calls threatening to deal with him for embarrassing the governor and his deputy.
He added that other journalists critical of the government of the state were also being targeted by agents of the state government and that some of them had been marked for arrest. However, Charles Tambou, the press secretary to the deputy governor, in a telephone interview, denied that the government was planning to arrest Egbegi, saying it was normal for people to express displeasure over negative newspaper publications but that such displeasure did not warrant harassing, arresting or intimidating journalists. But Egbegi said he reported the threats to the Nigerian Police and the State Security Service (SSS)Nigeria’s intelligence service.