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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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OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

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