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A meeting was fixed for 25th
June 2012, 07.00 AM by some Agbor elders, some of whom are also PDP leaders in
Ika South, to settle an on-going dispute between Dr. Cairo Ojougbo and Mr.
Ashien, publisher Ika Weekly. The dispute was a result of an editorial
published in Ika Weekly newspaper on how Ika South Local government was
run-down and still held down with Cairo Ojougbo mainly responsible for the
chaotic state of affairs in the local government area.
According some of those present at the
meeting convened at Cairo Ojougbo’s Royal Courtyard Hotel, Agbor, Cairo Ojougbo
feasted his guests that morning. He presented food and drinks and cheerfully
agreed that the matter was closed. The belief was that Cairo would be dropping
the 500 million naira legal action he has instituted against Ika Weekly. What they did not know was that Cairo had a plan to skillfully set the editor up and land him in jail.
During the meeting, Cairo Ojougbo was said
to have even praised Ika weekly newspaper’s activities and had even boasted
that he is ready to buy a printing press with which he can assist the newspaper
in their community to Ika community. After all the eating and drinking, our
source in the meeting said Cairo Ojougbo called the publisher aside and handed
him a bunch of money. When counted, it was about one hundred thousand naira. At
first, the publisher refused but was convinced by Ojougbo that it was a peace
offering that would be impolite if turned down. The publisher took the money
and went straight to the elders present and presented the money to them. He
informed them that Ojougbo had given him the money he was presenting to them.
They all thanked Ojougbo and asked the publisher to accept the gift.
What the publisher and the elders did not
know was that Cairo Ojougbo had marked the notes given as gift and had also
planned with the Agbor police to have the publisher arrested for extortion.
Just as the publisher and the elders were
saying goodbye to Cairo Ojougbo outside the hotel, the police arrested the
publisher and detained him.
An Ikaworld.com citizen reporter who was
initially monitoring the peace meeting immediately got wind of the new
development on the ground. The reporter twice called the Agbor Divisional
Police Officer (DPO) who twice denied arresting the publisher. While the DPO
was denying, the publisher and some of the elders who were at the bizarre Royal
Courtyard Hotel meeting were in telephone contact with Ikaworld.com head office
in Gothenburg, Sweden, from the police station.
After all the elders corroborated the
publisher’s account of the meeting and how the money was handed over to him by
Cairo Ojougbo in their individual police statements and knowing that the story
was immediately assuming an unexpected international dimension with online
citizen journalists at Ikaworld.com and other sister Nigerian news websites showing
interest, the publisher was quickly released by the police at about 2.00 pm
same day (25th june, 2012) with apology and all charges dropped.