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Detained Premium Times’ journalist granted N500,000 bail, freed

SAMUEL Ogundipe, an investigative reporter with Premium Times, who has been in police custody since Tuesday, August 14, has been granted bail by the Magistrate Court in Kubwa, Abuja.

He was released on Friday after meeting the N500,000 bail condition given by the Magistrate, Abdulwahab Mohammed.

Ogundipe was arrested and detained at the police headquarters, Abuja, for a story he authored detailing the report submitted by Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, following the investigation into what led to the blockade of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The police refused to release Ogundipe unless he revealed the source of his story.

Following media and public outcry, the police hurriedly charged Ogundipe to court on Wednesday, without allowing him a legal representation, and got a court order to detain the journalist for five more days. He was charged with criminal trespass and theft of secret documents.

On Thursday, a coalition of civil society groups protested at the police headquarters demanding Ogundipe’s immediate release, but the police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, said the reporter had no right to publish classified documents.

When the protesters insisted that Ogundipe be released, the police threw teargas at them to disperse them.

However on Friday, Premium Times heard that Ogundipe was to be taken to court again, and this time, the company’s lawyer was present at the court where he applied for his release.

The police counsel did not oppose the application, and therefore the Magistrate granted Ogundipe bail in the sum of N500,000 and a surety who must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction.

The bail conditions were met and Ogundipe was released. It is not clear when the next adjourned date is.

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