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Detained Premium Times journalist is ill, on medication before arrest— colleague reveals

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SAMUEL Ogundipe, Premium Times journalist who was arrested by the Nigeria Police and has been in detention since Tuesday, is down with fever and malaria and was on medication at the time of arrest.

His colleague, Azeezat Adebimpe, who is the media organisation’s education correspondent and was also arrested on Tuesday, revealed this on Thursday during a protest at the Police Headquarters in Abuja.

“Samuel is not feeling fine. He is on medication,” she said, while recounting events leading up to his detention.

When The ICIR asked if Ogundipe has been receiving adequate medication, she replied in the negative.

“Samuel is still ill. Samuel is not feeling fine, and there is no medication,” she added.

She also said both Ogundipe and her were accused of making contacts with criminal suspects until she was suddenly told she could leave, while Ogundipe remained in detention.

She revealed that the police officer who quizzed them admitted they were arrested as a result of orders from the Inspector General of Police. Police PRO Jimoh Moshood, however, denied this while speaking to the press during the Thursday protest.

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“I was asked to dial a number on my phone,” Adedigba narrated. “I started laughing when I saw the name on the screen. He [Superior Police Officer Emmanuel Onyeneho] said where is this man.

“When he allowed Musikilu Mojeed the editor of Premium Times to come in, he told him that Samuel and I were involved in a kind of kidnapping, that we have been talking to suspects and they need Samuel in their office.

“My editor-in-chief used my phone to call Samuel. He told him Azeezat is being detained by SARS, and they said both of you have been communicating to a suspect, kindly come to the office. Before he came, SUPOL Emmanuel said he does not know who wrote a petition, and that it was a directive from the Inspector General of Police that if he does not get us, he must not leave the town.

“So we were being detained by SUPOL Emmanuel and the moment Samuel came in, SUPOL Emmanuel said, ‘Adebimpe Adedigba, you have been exonerated’. I did not write any statement.

“Samuel was detained because of a story, and the story was reported by many Nigerian media. I can categorically state that TheCable published the story before Premium Times. It is about the report of the Inspector General of Police to the Acting President on the siege on the National Assembly. We all know it is unethical for a journalist to reveal the source of his information.

Adedigba also said Ogundipe’s lawyer was not informed about his planned arraignment before the court on Wednesday, even though he had contacted them earlier in the day.

“Our lawyer was with them in the morning, the police said there was no development and they were not doing anything. Until yesterday evening, they arraigned Mr Samuel Ogundipe without legal representation.”

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'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via aadebajo@icirnigeria.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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