Thomas Thomas, the editor of thrice-weekly Global Concord newspaper in Nigeria, was taken away by armed men on Tuesday, and has been missing since, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said, calling on the country’s authorities to do all they can to ensure his safety and well-being.
Thomas was handcuffed and forced into a waiting car by three men in plainclothes in Uyo, the capital of the oil-rich state of Akwa Ibom, the New York-based media watchdog said in a statement, quoting local news reports.
Global Concord has been very critical of the Akwa Ibom state government, and Thomas’ disappearance could be connected to a recent story.
The story alleged plans by the Akwa Ibom state government to assassinate traditional chiefs ahead of the 2015 general elections over their refusal to support a government-chosen candidate.
Unyime Ekwere, chairman of the Global Concord’s editorial board, told CPJ that Thomas was being detained by the State Security Service (SSS).
SSS director Toma Minti and police spokesman Etim Dickson declined to tell CPJ where Thomas was being held.
CPJ Africa programme coordinator, Cape Town-based Sue Valentine, said her organisation was alarmed by the seizure of Thomas, adding that said CPJ was holding the Nigerian authorities responsible for the journalist’s safety.
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