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Nigeria: Tweep Detained For Taking Photographs

Categories: Human Rights, Legal Threats, Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa

The Nigerian blogosphere was thrown into panic due to the arrest of Egghead Odewole (@eggheader [1]) for taking photographs of a windmill under construction in Kastina, Northern Nigeria.

This tweet broke the peace:

@eggheader: Some policemen just arrested my friend and I for taking picture of the wind mill farm. We're being taken to the Rimi Division.


Picture posted on Instagram by @eggheader, minutes before his arrest.

A series of tweets followed:

@eggheader: Apparently,there's been some untoward developments relating to d project. Police station blown, French expatriate kidnapped, project stopped

@eggheader: After preliminary questioning at Rimi Division, we're now being transferred to the State CID.

@eggheader: DPO at Rimi Station,DSP Hamisu, says “since the unfortunate developments, all activities around the project have been viewed with suspicion”

@eggheader: After preliminary questioning at Rimi Division, we're now being transferred to the State CID.

@eggheader: No charges yet. We've been take on suspicion.

@eggheader: According to DSP Hamisu, d project was barely 1-2 wks to completion when d French consultant was kidnapped. He's not been seen since then.

@eggheader: Now at State CID.

These tweets went viral and generated an instantaneous response from the Nigerian Twitterati who were both apprehensive and alarmed. Besides the apparent violation of Egghead Odewole's human rights, to be detained by the Police in Nigeria is not like visiting a museum.

The tension was further aggravated due to the inability to get him on the phone.

@AbangMercy:  [3]@rosanwo: I have not been able to reach Egghead. His closest associates phone just went off. Now I am worried

It took this tweet to calm frayed nerves:

@eggheader: ON MY RADAR: My colleague and I have been released from the Katsina Police Command.

That did not immediately stop the apprehension until further confirmations came through:

@omojuwa [4]: As soon as he has internet access Egghead will tweet. Currently heading to Kano. He is fine
 @abati1990: [5] @ujuokagba: I have spoken with him. All is well…

Meanwhile the debate continues on Twitterland on the detention; with some tweeps defending the police while others decrying the unnecessary and continual excesses of law enforcement agents in Nigeria. The palpable terror tension and insecurity in Nigeria does not help matters.