On November 21, 2003, the Benue State police in Makurdi arrested and detained Emmanuel Uja, a correspondent of the Sun newspaper of Nigeria, at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Nigeria sources, the journalist was picked up at about 10:00am during a function in Makurdi and driven away in a waiting Peugeot 504 station wagon. The police turned down appeals by Emmanuel and other reporters at the function, to allow him to conclude the function before reporting to the police station.
The police arrested Emmanuel on account of an article written by Murphy Ganagana, the Sun Abuja Bureau correspondent. The story was about a 16- year old girl who is said to have committed suicide by taking rat poison because her father allegedly stopped her from being promoted to the next class.
The police turned down pleas by other journalists at the event to allow Emmanuel to cover the function before reporting to the police, especially as he was not the author of the article. They bundled the journalist into the waiting car and took him to the SCID.
Nearly 20 members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) subsequently staged a protest at the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police SCID and demanded the immediate release of their colleague.
The police later released Emmanuel and instructed him to produce Murphy Ganagana, the author of the story on November 26, 2003.