Monday, October 27, 2008


Last week Saturday, Nigerian blogger, Jonathan Elendu of, was arrested and detained by the internal intelligence unit, the SSS. The SSS, which according to the US State Department, reports directly to Nigeria's President, initially accused Elendu of "money laundering" and then by Friday, October 24th, accused him instead of "sedition". Thanks to the attention from bloggers around the world, various international organizations and major news outlets, it appears that there has been a change in Elendu's situation. Nigerian Curiosity has been informed by a family member of Elendu's that he is no longer in SSS custody, but has now been transferred to the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Additionally, he now has a new lawyer.

Despite this news, there remains the fact that Elendu continues to be detained despite the fact that he has not been formally charged of any crimes in a court of law. If he is no longer the "charge" of the notorious SSS, what evidence is there to suggest that he should now be the "charge" of the EFCC? How does one go from being publicly accused of money laundering, sedition and then, by suggestion, corruption, within the span of just over a week? Some are beginning to say that this is a ploy to hold onto Elendu and prevent him from ever leaving Nigeria as a free man. Given a troubling history of unlawful arrest and detention, this possibility is not far fetched in Nigeria. If Elendu is guilty of any crime, the evidence should quickly be presented in court and shared with the public. Despite all this, I simply hope, above all else, that there will be no need for any Court processes and that Elendu will be released early this week. I also hope that his seized passport will be returned to him so he can return to Michigan and be reunited with his family. Furthermore, as the US State Department has reported that Nigerians detained by security forces such as the SSS have been abused, sometimes even murdered, I particularly hope that Elendu is released unharmed.

The fact is that, if Elendu were an American citizen, his arrest and detention by the SSS and EFCC would have resulted in swift action by the American government and essentially, Elendu's release. Nigerian Curiosity has also been informed that Elendu, a US Green Card holder, has his US citizenship interview scheduled for next month. Apparently, he has held his Green Card for a long time and upon the inisistence of his sage wife, applied for his American citizenship. Given his recent arrest by the SSS and now his detention by the EFCC, I hope that he will be released in time to attend his interview and that he will be offered American citizenship. American citizenship will likely protect him from any future problems with the SSS or any other Nigerian office on account of his blogging.

Also, Nigeria apparently does not actually guarantee habeas corpus, and historically, the government has rejected court orders requiring the release of detainees. Therefore, being a detained Nigerian citizen essentially means that the Nigerian government can hold you for as long as possible.

This story is 9 days old and yet there is an incredible lack of information on Elendu's situation. His own family knows little of his present condition. Nigeria's larger newspapers have either decided or have been instructed to not report on this story and ignore it daily. In fact, the number of Nigerians that know about this situation is arguably tiny. It seems that Elendu, and those who seek his release, must therefore rely on the international media to get information on his condition. Hopefully, more foreign news outlets will focus on this story, especially if Elendu continues to be detained.

Please continue to seek Elendu's immediate release from detention and his return to his family in Michigan.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigerian Blogger Arrested!!!
- Channels TV Shut Down By Yar'Adua
- Suppression In A Democratic Regime
- Nigeria, Be Careful What You Wish For
- The Nigerian Psyche
- Persistent Psychological Paralysis
- The Significance of Persistent Psychological Paralysis
- The Consequences of Yar'Adua's Mysterious Health
- Rewriting Abacha's History

AddThis Feed Button

15 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Anonymous said...

Hello SolomonS,

You seem to be best at organising campaigns, appeals and petitions regarding issues of concern.

I wrote about this and compared it with another event in Iran.

We need a rallying and coordinated point to generate the kind of momentum to exact the results we want.

I wonder if you can be the manager of such a forum, I would willingly support and help in anyway you think this can be better managed.



Beauty said...

In a way, the prescribed Nigerian Neurosis that you coined PPP also known as the the 'siddon look' attitude seemed to manifest itself in the general attitude of Nigerian media in the on-going JE saga. What is going on? describes the idea that others have a claim over our actions. The media at home is not merely unwilling to liberate itself from oppression and misery but unwilling to acknowledge they endure it, hence new media. The Internet is a new frontier in the struggle for human rights and it is not only in Nigeria that people feel threatened by it. Worldwide, people are using new media as an enabler but censorship is its Catch 22. Who will want to contribute to a system that does not understand the progression of Duty?

Our country must not be stuck in the past and should begin to apply the mistakes of the world for advancement. English is a colorful language but merely speaking it is not enough to lead. Education in The Republic, Caesar and Cleopatra, Works of Nietzsche, Individualism, Morality and Freedom is a must in order to shake PPP. “Thank God I have done my duty” Horatio Nelson.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Jonathan Elendu, or his arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction, if he is suspected to have contravened any laws of the land.

Dojaa said...

....and some people are critical of Nigerians who own Nigerian passports, but turn up at Nigerian embassies seeking a Visa to enter Nigeria with a British passport.


@ Akin: It is always nice to see you over here. I must immediately thank you for the vote of confidence re: rallying.

I was waiting to see what would happen today before announcing anything but being that it is almost the end of the working day in Nigeria, I might as well mention that I hope concerned individuals can mark this Friday as "FREE JONATHAN ELENDU NOW" day. I have drafted some correspondence to send to a few groups and can only hope that the move to get him released will work. Hopefully we can all work together to produce a positive result in this situation.

I thank you again for raising the point. I have been quite saddened by the seeming lack of attention this case is receiving. But, it seems we have to make people care and with some bright ideas, we can.

Please expect an email. Hope you don't mind.

@ Beauty: "The media at home is not merely unwilling to liberate itself from oppression and misery but unwilling to acknowledge they endure it, hence new media."

You are correct. There is nothing more to add to this. What is even scarier to me is that Nigerians don't know about this and many who do are either too busy or just too tired to even find the time to comment. I guess this is PPP in action.

"Individualism, Morality and Freedom is a must in order to shake PPP."

Amen! Please expect an email soon.

@ Doja: My sista, shebi? God bless Nigeria but based on the counsel I recently received, I will never again suggest that a fellow Nigerian do otherwise. Sad, but true. Especially if, like, Elendu, they think outside the box.

Waffarian said...

Guardian did print the article I wrote on sunday...its on waffy's articles.

Hopefully, enough bloggers will put it up on their blogs!

N.I.M.M.O said...

Somehow, I have a feeling that all these will pass and we will see it for what it is - a storm in a teacup. Think about it.

What if the local media knows what we don't? What if they know more about this case and have decided that its not worth the ink and paper? Why do we find it difficult to accept that there is some credit to their approach to this matter? Why do we find it difficult to accept that they may be right?

Oh, I forget, we are the Enlightened Ones who have Internet access and operate from foreign lands, right?

The 'Siddon Look' Attitude, as propounded by the late Bola Ige was not a passive acceptance of state tyranny but rather an active engagement of the proponents/practitioners of this tyranny in serious psychological 'warfare'. It takes a deep understanding of the psyche of the 'enemy' to do this.

It is different from and more effective than just shouting. Remember the story of the Mother Hawk who sent its children out to hunt for food? Remember what it told the child who brought back a duckling? There are lessons to learn in these stories.

What if Jonathan Elendu is released before Friday?

Anonymous said...

I read the last post about his detention. They still haven't released him?
Is he that much of a threat, I mean why hold him for so long?
Also, I noticed that he is being charged for 'Sedition'...very convenient charge. Then all of a sudden 'money laundering.
They probably have no evidence to charge him with anything, because if they did, it would have been released since...
I am wondering if we are under a democracy in naija or still under military rule?
This behavior of holding someone in detention for days without a court hearing or access to his attorney is unfair and should be illegal.

Also, it is a BIG disappointment that the local media in Nigeria is not reporting this issue. They can't say that they are unaware of this. Are they afraid? I think they are. They need to release themselves of the fear and somehow create a coalition that gives them a right to report what they should be reporting as long as it is backed up with fact and a reliable source... God help the dude. We should keep him in our prayers.


@ Waffy: Thanks for the headsup, will share that on the site.

@ N.I.M.M.O.: Good to see you. I started leaving a long message at your site but for some reason, Blogger went out on me. Will be back to try again.

Are you suggesting that I think the Nigerian media inferior when you refer to "Enlightened ones?"

I hope I am reading you wrong because I know that in my post I specifically noted that the media has either chosen to or been instructed to not write about Elendu. Being that I do not know what the reason for the media silence is, I will not assume to come to any conclusions on that matter nor would I suggest that they were inferior simply because they have chosen a route I do not clearly understand. Let us not confuse the issues.

As to your statement that the media likely knows something the rest of us peons do not, that is clearly the case. But the fact that information is not easily accessible should not change the fact that some of us want to know why Elendu has been detained, why he has not been charged with a crime, why any evidence against him has not been presented before a court of law and when, if ever, he will be released. Or, do we not have a right to ask?

I respect your opinion even though you do not agree with my choice to get Elendu some international attention. If I am seen as just shouting, then that is a shame and an obvious inability to see where i am coming from. But, that is no problem, as I will expand on that by the end of the week.

But, the issue for me is, that if YOU for any reason where arrested and detained by the SSS for whatever reason, I would take the time from my extremely busy life to make a comment about it. If you were kept away from your family and not allowed to communicate with them or even a lawyer for days on end, I would not just comment on your situation, but would seek the help of those who can to get you some attention in an attempt to reunite you with your family. It would not matter to me if you were guilty or innocent as long as your constitutionally protected freedoms were infringed upon. And if the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you had committed a crime, I would advise you to get the best lawyer you can afford and wish you the best.

That, my dear friend, is the only lesson I chose to learn. Besides, Elendu's family is working to have him released and I hope that their prayers will be answered before Friday. If that happens, I will thank God for his mercy and move on to doing what I like to do, observing Nigeria, encouraging better practices and supporting the good things that Nigeria is about. If, for some reason, Elendu is still incommunicado on Friday, I hope that some of us will take the time to encourage his release.

But, I thank you for sharing your insight, nonetheless, and implore that if you know something specific that I don't know and that would be illuminating, then please educate me. Until then, I will continue to encourage the Nigerian government to either release Elendu or charge him in a court of law within a reasonable amount of time. I don't think that is too hard. Hopefully, they will not clamp down on any of us who feel differently.

Stay safe.

Anonymous said...


If he does get released on Friday we would be thankful, however, nobody is yet aware of when he would be released.

I am quite amused that you advocate nothing in other to get a result - the best analogy is to offer no defence in court when accused as a strategy of being declared innocent.

If the media at home is really privy to something then at least they should have the editorial latitude to mention the news worthy part without jeopardising what other issues the government and its menacing aparatus want to pursue.

I respect your opinion but I would not subscribe to your kind of cynicism - you might be clinical in your assessment when not affected, it is unlikely you would want silence if you were in his shoes.

We would do what we have to do with noise, advocacy and placards if neccesary to keep this issue in the public domain and get the authorities to respond with a modicum of decency.

In the end, like Pastor Martin Niemöller said if you cannot stand up for the seemingly inconsequential, when they come to get you, there would be no one to speak up for you.



Anonymous said...

@ N.I.M.M.O., we are the Enlightened Ones who have Internet access and operate from foreign lands, right?, yes, correct! People have been leaving anonymous Bola Ige comments for me and I wonder why they have never taken it up with the Nigerian media circus. Why challenge the status quo? Let us continue with the do not ruffle the feathers approach has meant years of suffering and smiling but the few that are challenging authority have a place reserved for them in history. You are also correct to say that all of this will pass and in the vastness of the universe, this is a tiny storm in a tea cup. I am glad to have stood up to ignorance that has led to tyrannus and that is the difference.

Anonymous said...

Whatever it is. This guys rights have been infringed upon. We can all keep quiet and be the next. Have a great day guys.

N.I.M.M.O said...

@SSD: Most times when I comment on posts and I have to address any previous comment by a blogger, I usually put the @ sign but when I don't, then my comment is for general consumption.

I have this habit of sometimes reading the comments before the post as it gives me perspective to the post but then when I respond/make comments, I comment on the comments rather than the original post itself.

I think this is what happened in this case. If you ask me, my comment had practically little to do with your post but rather to the comment made before mine.

I guess my frustration is more with the seeming hopelessness with which Nigerians approach this matter. If we will be sincere, this is nothing new and I doubt if any of us know what is REALLY happening but when people come onto blogs to give opinions as facts, it riles me.

What if Jonathan Elendu is released before Friday?

It is more of a prayer, not a poser.

Be positive, my friends.


Geebee said...

Finally i got to nigerian curiousity and tell u what, the Jonathan Elendu story left me shell-shocked. For an instant, i thought it was a joke only to realise the reality of the story as io read on. I wonder when it became an crime for people to speak their minds, especially when we are in what we call a democracy. May God save us o. I'm sure Elendu will be freed in no time, especially when many voices register their anger on what happened to one of our own. I'll definitely add my voice. I guess nigeriancuriosity is it for me now. I'll definitely be back, especially now that i am a 'follower' of this blog.

Anonymous said...

"What if the local media know what we dont" So What? This does not mean we should not express our feelings and comment on the arrest as we see it. And if the Nigerian media do know something why are they themselves not in uproar against this repressive action by the government. With all due respect it is this kind of nonchalant attitude by Nigerians that is partly the reason why we are so dismissive and lame when it comes to making any real challenge or creating any real opposition to human rights. I have said it many times and I will say it again. Human Rights are not and cannot be exclusive. Just as the rights of gays and lesbians are refused and ridiculed in Nigerian society so to will the rights of journalists and everyone else. A country that does not respect the rights of one group will not respect the rights of others. You may think you safe because you are not a journalist or a gay man but one day they will come for you too. We need to wake up. If one good thing comes out of this campaign it will be that Nigerian bloggers and their readers respect the notion of human rights for all people irrespective of their personal feelings.

Waffarian said...

@sokari: Thank you! I could not have said it better.

@n.i.m.m.o.: First of all, if you know SOMETHING, then please, share with us. There are many people here volunteering their time and energy to make this campaign work. If however, the only thing you can give us is "what if", "believe" "be positive", then I do not understand what is wrong with people choosing to be active instead of passive.

By the way, I don't even think what we are doing is anything compared to those that are actually on the ground, trying to make things happen. Like you rightly noted, we are all sitting behind laptops safe in foreign lands. There are actually family members who have to wake up every day for the next round of merry-go-round with the government. I would not want to be in their shoes.

The little we are doing will never be enough and I find it very sad that anybody would actually compare the violation of human rights as a "storm in a teacup". I can bet you that for the family, it is no bloody "storm in a teacup". It is perhaps their worst nightmare.When we choose to voice our opinions, remember that children, brothers, sisters, mothers are involved.

I think in our bid to get our opinions heard, we often lose sight of the human aspect. We do not know this man, there may or may not be more to the story. All we do know and that we are 100% sure of, is that his rights as a human being has been violated. There can be no "what if" in that fact. It is a fact.

We all have choices in life. Some of us have chosen to get involved so let us do it. If you choose not to, by all means, be positive and believe.

"What if Jonathan Elendu is released before Friday?"

That's the question you asked. If he is released, then I am sure many of us here would be extra grateful. We all have full time jobs, some have more than two jobs, kids, and an active life.

You also say:

"If we will be sincere, this is nothing new and I doubt if any of us know what is REALLY happening"

Is that supposed to make it alright for things like this to happen? Because our country has always abused human rights so this one too, is just one of many?

another storm in a teacup...

If this ever happened to you, I wonder what you would say if after nine days of jail time, you find out that nobody was doing anything for you because they were abiding by the lessons learnt from "mother hawk".

Post a Comment

Get curious...share your thoughts, long and short. But, do remain civil.