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).