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Nigerian editor still missing a week after he was abducted

By Staff Reporter

The editor of a Nigerian newspaper was seized by three armed men in plain clothes a week ago and hasn’t been seen since.

Witnesses saw Thomas Thomas, editor of the thrice-weekly Global Concord in Uyo, the capital of the oil-rich state of Akwa Ibom, being handcuffed and forced into a waiting car.

Although the state security service (SSS) has denied holding Thomas, the chairman of the paper’s editorial board, Unyime Ekwere, is convinced that he was detained by SSS operatives.

Global Concord has been very critical of the Akwa Ibom state government. A recent article contained allegations by traditional chiefs that the government had plans to assassinate them ahead of next year’s general election over their refusal to support a government-chosen candidate.

Thomas has also caused controversy with a series of articles about the state government’s alleged mismanagement of public funds.

Two leading press freedom watchdogs, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), have called on the Nigerian authorities to locate Thomas and ensure his safety.

“Thomas must be found as a matter of urgency,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “If his articles upset the state authorities, legal recourse is available to them but armed intimidation is never justified.

“We urge those who kidnapped this journalist to respect the Nigerian constitution, which guarantees media freedom. Thomas must be released without delay.”

Sources: CPJ/RSF/AllAfrica.com

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