Saturday, 31 March 2007

Friday John Abba, writer, detained

This is Friday John Abba, chairman of Kaduna Writers' League and vice chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). He has been detained by the Nigerian State Security Services (SSS) since his arrest on February 2. Members of the association, led by the national president, Dr Wale Okediran, have been holding meetings with the security chieftains in order to secure Mr Abba's release from detention. International NGOs, including PEN International, have been intimated about the issue. The SSS say they are charging Mr Abba and a friend of his for gun-running and terrorism-related activities in Nigeria's volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region.

A delegation led by Dr Okediran, who is also a member of Nigeria's House of Representatives, have finally met with Mr Abba at the weekend and reported that except for a visible weight loss he was in good condition.

My prayer is that Mr Abba's case is disposed of soon. Holding someone incommunicado for this long can be traumatic, especially in Nigeria where detention centres are in appalling condition.

I believe that ANA must not be too optimistic about the assurances by the SSS. It should maintain the pressure. All writers should work for the release of Mr Abba. This type of incarceration could happen to anyone.

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