SaharaReporters has learnt that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday used the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), Delta State Command, to arrest an Ughelli-based publisher of a local tabloid, Ughelli Times Magazine, Mr. Daniel Ekiugbo.

Mr. Ekiugbo's colleagues said the DSS arrested him Tuesday night in Ughelli over an alleged libelous report against the Minister, and he was whisked away to Asaba, head office of the service.

It was reliably gathered that the publisher, who is a member of the Urhobo Media Group, has been abandoned to his fate by his union members as well as the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the State.

A journalist speaking to SaharaReporters said, "We don't have NUJ in Delta State. If a journalist is arrested, the leadership does not bother, especially when they see you are a crack journalist they can't bend. When you report against some of their politician friends in or out of government, they leave you to rot there. Until more credible and serious minded people are elected to lead the union in Delta State, journalists will continue to suffer. 

"In most cases, the leadership sells you to security agents, and that's what we face here in Delta State. When you have State government staffers at the helm of affairs of a union like the NUJ, that is what you see. All they do is in the interest of the government and to the detriment of members," the journalist added.

As at the time of filing this report, details of Mr. Ekiugbo's arrest were still sketchy. A DSS source confirmed his arrest to SaharaReporters but refused to give details.

“Though I can’t give you many details on his arrest, it is not much of an issue as we just want to confirm some things from him. These issues include a publication against the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, among others I can’t divulge to you now, hence he was brought in for interrogation,” the source said.

Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu

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