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Okey Ndibe. Image via Google.

US-based author Okey Ndibe, known and respected for his incisive, unrelenting criticism of corruption and governmental abuse of power in Nigeria, was yet again held up by the State Security Service at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Here is what he wrote on his Facebook page on 8 April.

I had another irritating encounter with the SSS at Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos. I told the officers who took me to their office for questioning that it’s shameful they salute and escort corrupt officials but harass a citizen who insists we can, and should, have a sane system–based on true democratic values, the equality of ALL citizens before the law, and political accountability.
For the record, the SSS officials were courteous throughout. Once again, they advised me to go to Abuja and apply to have my name expunged from their watchlist. No, I said. I did not go to Abuja in 2010 to ask the Umaru Yar’Adua administration to put me on a list of enemies of the state. I will not go to Abuja to plead that my name be removed from the list.
I thank all of you who’ve written or called to inquire after my wellbeing. I’m in wonderful spirits, far from cowed. Fear is a choice; I’ve chosen not to fear.

The incident has been reported by Nigeria’s Premium Times as well as Sahara Reporters where he published a characteristically unapologetic article in January.

One of Nigeria’s best known writers, Okey Ndibe is the author of the novels Arrows of Rain (2000) and Foreign Gods Inc. (2014), and the memoir Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American (2016).

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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