Nigerian Igbo Jewish leader who was arrested with 3 Israeli visitors is freed after 1 month in DSS custody


Lizben Agha, a leader of the Jewish community in Ogidi, Anambra state, has been freed one month after she was arrested with 3 Israeli visitors.


Lizben Agha was jailed alongside Israelis Rudy Rochman, David Benaym, and Noam Leibman

The Israelis were freed after 20 days in detention while Lizben remained in jail.


Lizben Agha was released after appeals, including from another African country.

Mrs Agha had been providing assistance to the Israelis, who visited her community in Ogidi to film a documentary on the life of the Jews in Nigeria.


According to her son Emmanuel, Mrs Agha and her husband Peniel were taken at gunpoint by security forces from their home late at night on 9 July. He says they were driven to the hotel where the visitors, who have dual Israeli-US or Israeli-French citizenship, were staying and where they too were taken into custody.


Emmanuel says his parents were released but his mother was later arrested again after she begged to go with her guests to act as a mediator.

Mrs Agha was driven to the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the capital, Abuja, where all four were held over suspicion that they had ties to a secessionist movement known as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).


After the release of the Israeli visitors, one of them, Mr Rochman, revealed that while in detention, they were kept in a different wing from Lizben Agha and saw her briefly only once when she was being taken to see a doctor.


Mrs Agha was released on bail on Saturday, August 7, following local and foreign appeals on humanitarian grounds.


Emmanuel Agha says the family does not know why Lizben was held for 29 days.


“My mother is in poor health and doesn’t know why she was arrested,” he said. “I asked the prison authorities but they did not give me an answer.”

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