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Nigeria: Blogger Arrested for Allegedly Blackmailing a Politician

This post is part of our special coverage Nigeria Elections 2011.

The Nigerian federal security enforcement agency, State Security Service (SSS), recently arrested Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe, a Nigerian blogger who runs 247 Ureports, for allegedly attempting to blackmail Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, a member of the House of Representatives for Aniocha, Njikoka and Dunukofa Constituency in Anambra State.

The Administrator of Huhuonline explains how the whole story started:

On Saturday, March 12 2011, we published a story captioned Reps Member, Dr. (Mrs.) Uche Ekwunife Caught with Pants Down…. See Video” .Minutes after our story aired, our phones were inundated with calls, and one of such callers was Ikenna Ezenekwe publisher of Ukpaka reports.com, he said he was calling on behalf of his sister (Hon.Uche Ekwenife).

In the words of Mr.Ezenekwe, he was part of Dr. Mrs. Uche Ekwenife`s campaign train which was in Awka on Saturday march 12, 2011, and she had commissioned him to help resolve her media “nightmare” (video of her having sex), which was published on youtube and republished on huhuonline.com and pointblanknews.com.

Mr. Ezenekwe requested that huhuonline.com pull down the video, saying that the woman was ready to pay any amount, but his plea was rebuffed, and was asked to tell the embattled Uche Ekwenife, who allegedly allowed herself to be videotaped, while having sex to “perish with her money”.

Blogger Ikenna Ezenekwe in handcuffs. Photo courtesy of SaharaReporters

SaharaReporters investigated the matter:

According to our sources, Mr. Ezenekwe had gone to the home of Ekwunife to demand N6 million naira to stop a scandalous story about Mrs. Ekwunife that was published on Pointblanknews.com and Huhuonline.com. The story about how Mrs. Ekwunife was jumping from one political party into another was illustrated with a sex tape purported to be of Mrs. Ekwunife and some lovers.

Mr. Ezenekwe, who runs Ukpakareports.com, had contacted Mrs. Ekwunife’s aide, Emeka Igwilo demanding the House of Representatives member’s contact. When asked why, he said he was in possession of indecent pictures of Mrs. Ekwunife with male and female lovers.

The investigation further revealed:

Investigation by Saharareporters revealed that Ikenna Ezenekwe and the owners of Pointblanknews.com and Huhuonline were having constant phone conversations as the blackmail was taking place. The SSS is looking at Ikenna Ezenekwe’s phone records and his laptop to determine the nature of the involvement of the owners of the two online sites.

The two websites have since pulled the story from their sites. They did not provide any explanation as to why they did that.

In separate statements published on their sites, Pointblanknews and Huhuonline denied being accomplices in the alleged crime. They claimed that Ikenna Ezenekwe approached them to take down the story and the video for a fee and they both rebuffed him. Pointblanknews called Ikenna Ezenekwe an impersonator.

Below are messages from Ikenna Ezenekwe and his fans on his Facebook page about his arrest:

Udenze Desire Ude needs clarity on the issue from Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe:

IKENNA I HEARD ABOUT YOUR ARREST AND FILES LEVELED AGAINST YOU.. WE YOUR FANS NEED SOME CLARITY ON THIS ISSUE..

Ikenna says that his arrest is the greatest blackmail in the modern world:

This is the greatest blackmail in our modern world, Am still with the SSS in Awka over a video publised on huhuonline.com and pointblanknews.com on Hon. (Dr.) Uche Ekwunife i simply asked them to remove…. the truth will soon come out!

On March 21, 2011, Chike Okonkwo questioned the continued detention of Ikenna:

How can the PDP led government explain the continued detention of Ikenna ,for more than a week by the DSS, without charging him to court???? Even military regimes detained people based on decree two. On what basis is Ikenna being held for this long?? The detained Okey Ndibe,now it is Ikenna!

Okey Ifeachor thinks the case is politically motivated:

It will be naive to think that Ikenna's detention has no political undertone.

Ikenna thanks God because all his charges have been cleared:

I thank God for clearing me of all charges and for freeing me. I am glad for God's grace. God will forgive all the people involved. I am happy God has helped vindicate me. I was never arrested at the home of Ekwunife as alleged. I was arrested at Parktonian Hotel when Ekwunife came to collect contact information of the Publishers of the video tape. I NEVER CAME TO COLLECT 6 Million Naira. God bless SSS [State Security Service].

John Ahonsi writes:

Forget what they did to u,all I know is that it made u better and stronger.I think this country needs a revolution

In October 2008 Nigerian blogger, Jonathan Elendu, was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) for allegedly sponsoring a “guerilla news agency”.

This post is part of our special coverage Nigeria Elections 2011.

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