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Nigerians Seize Times Reporter, Hold Him Overnight

January 22, 1986|Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria — Security forces held Los Angeles Times correspondent Charles T. Powers overnight at the Lagos airport without explanation last weekend, then released him the next day.

Powers said that after he arrived Saturday night from Nairobi, Kenya, agents from the National Security Organization seized his passport and held him in their airport offices before taking him to security headquarters the next morning.

He said they refused to offer an explanation for his detention and would not let him call the U.S. Embassy. The agents searched Powers and his belongings.

Before releasing him Sunday morning, they took his passport, portable computer and files, he said. Powers said he was told to report back to security headquarters Monday morning and then was escorted to a Lagos hotel.

After intervention by U.S. Embassy officials and the Nigerian minister of information, Powers' passport and gear were returned.

Lt. Col. Anthony Ukpo, information minister, apologized to Powers for the incident. Powers, who is still in Nigeria, held a valid Nigerian visa, issued in Nairobi, where he is based.

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