Abuja - The police have detained four journalists after
they refused to disclose the source of an alleged presidential document that
calls for sabotaging an opposition coalition, their newspaper said on Monday.
President Goodluck Jonathan's office had already denied the
validity of the document published on April 3 in the independent Leadership
The disputed and unconfirmed report claimed that Jonathan
had issued orders to frustrate efforts by the opposition to unite ahead of
presidential polls in 2015.
Police confirmed the arrests but declined to discuss the
"We demand the unconditional and immediate release of
our journalists," said the managing director of the Leadership Group,
Azubuike Ishiekwene, in a statement.
He identified those detained as Chinyere Fred-Adebulugbe,
Chuks Ohuegbe, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe.
According to the statement, the four were summoned to police
headquarters in the capital on Monday and told they would be held until they
identified "the source of the story," which they refused to do.
"We stand by our story and will neither be cowed nor
intimidated by the strong-arm tactics of President Jonathan," the
National police spokesperson Frank Mba told AFP the
journalists "are being detained in connection with the on-going
"Leadership must have told you why they are being
held," he said when asked for further details.
Media rights groups including the New York-based Committee
to Protect Journalists have previously criticised Nigeria for alleged
crackdowns on press freedoms.
In February, two journalists from the Wazobia radio station
in the northern city of Kano were charged with inciting disorder after they
repeated a conspiracy theory that polio vaccines were part of a Western plot to