NUJ, IPC Demand Release Of Detained Premium Times Reporter


Premium Times and the International Press Centre have kicked against the detention of a Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe,  by the police, and called for his immediate release.

On the day the Presidency ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris,  to overhaul the Special Anti-Robbery Squad over its excesses, the unit arrested Ogundipe and was compelling him to disclose his source, Premium Times Publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi,  said in a statement on Tuesday.

Apart from Ogundipe, Premium Times’ Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and its education correspondent, Azeezat Adedigba, were also briefly detained and manhandled by the police at the SARS headquarters in Abuja over police investigation into the invasion of the National Assembly by the Department of State Services.

Adedigba was later released after about three hours of detention while Mojeed and Ogundipe were driven from the SARS headquarters in Abuja to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters, where the latter was made to write a statement.

At the Force headquarters, Olorunyomi narrated that a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the IGP Monitoring Unit, Sani Ahmadu, was heard directing lawyers to “rush to court” to obtain a warrant to detain Ogundipe.

“They repeatedly asked the journalist to disclose his source for a story published by this newspaper,” he stated, adding that the story for which Ogundipe was being detained was also published by other media.

“Premium Times especially condemns the Gestapo manner in which the Nigeria Police have taken Mr Ogundipe into custody and hereby demands his immediate and unconditional release.

“His detention is in gross violation of Mr Ogundipe’s rights, the Nigerian laws and all democratic tenets, and is an unacceptable abridgement of his citizenship and professional privileges,” the newspaper said.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists also condemned the arrest and detention of Premium Times reporter.

The National President of the NUJ, Abdulwaheed Odusile, in a statement on Tuesday, said, “The NUJ is horrified by the constant harassment by the police and other agents of the state and requests that such should abate forthwith.

“Confidentiality of sources is necessary for good journalism to flourish and journalists should not be coerced into revealing such sources.”

The NUJ, therefore, called for the unconditional release of the detained journalist and ‘an end to all forms of impunity against the media.’

The IPC, in a statement, condemned the arrest, detention and harassment of the three Premium Times journalists by the police over a story relating to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The IPC, in a statement by its Director, Lanre Arogundade, however, described the arrest of the journalists as “a clear assault on press freedom and a clear threat to the safety of the detained journalist and his colleagues.”

The IPC said, “The police authorities are also hereby reminded that the Freedom of Information Act, a federal law, enacted in 2011, in Section 16 (c), confers on journalists, the media ‘Journalism Confidentiality Privileges’ and as such should desist from engaging in unconstitutional acts.”

The Muslim Rights Concern equally condemned the clampdown by the police and asked the force to immediately release the detained Premium Times journalists.

“We strongly condemn any attempt to coerce journalists performing their legitimate duties,” MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said.

The force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood,  did not respond to inquiries about the detention of the journalist.