The Social and Economic Rights Action Center, (SERAC), has reported the detention of a French television reporter, Frederic Tonolli, by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) in Lagos for taking footage in a private housing community in the Amuwo Odofin area of the city.
SERAC is a non-governmental organisation that works for the promotion of social and economic rights of which housing rights are a major aspect.
Victoria Ohaeri, the Programme Coordinator for the center in a telephone interview said that Mr. Tonolli, a reporter for the French television network, Channel Five, was arrested Wednesday, December 2 by the security service.
She said Mr. Tonolli was “vigorously interrogated and detained by the SSS for several hours at their Shangisha office in Lagos and eventually released later in the night with an order to report back the following day at noon.”
Mr. Tonolli was again detained when he reported Thursday December 3, 2009, according to Ms. Ohaeri, who said the French journalist is expected to leave the country on a scheduled flight tonight but have been told that he may not make that flight because operatives have yet to conclude their investigations.
Mr. Tonolli has requested consular assistance, but was denied the opportunity to make contact with the French Embassy in Lagos, according to Ms. Ohaeri who also claimed that the SSS has not furnished any legal basis for interfering with Mr. Tonolli’s liberty.
Ms. Ohaeri said her organisation is currently in dialogue with the SSS to seek the release of Mr. Tonolli.