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IPC condemns police surveillance on its premises ahead of June 12 Democracy Day

THE International Press Centre (IPC) has expressed concern over the surveillance of its premises by officers of the Nigeria Police Force.

IPC decried this action as intimidation tactics against its staff, labelling it an unwarranted siege. 

The Centre, in a statement on Tuesday, June 11, signed by its Press Freedom Officer Melody Akinjiyan, reported that two plainclothes police officers approached an IPC staff member to carry out surveillance following a press conference on June 6, 2024, regarding an alleged planned June 12th anniversary activities.

The officers were said to have approached the staff at the entrance of the organisation’s office in Dideolu Estate, Ogba, Lagos, on Tuesday, June 11, around 1:40 pm.

According to the statement, the officers, who refused to state their names, admitted that their superiors sanctioned the investigation into a potential nationwide protest at IPC, a claim promptly refuted.

The Centre said the incident followed a previous visit on Friday 7, by two men identifying themselves as officials of the Lagos Neighbourhood Watch, who inquired about an alleged protest following the same press conference. 

IPC also clarified that it was not planning or organising any protests, whether on June 12 or any other day.

“The International Press Centre is a media resource institution that works in the civic and civil society space to expand the frontiers of media freedom, the safety of journalists, media independence, access to the media by marginalised groups and communities, the right to freedom of expression; and build journalistic and media capacities to enhance democracy and development,” the statement added.




     

     

    “Also, as the name suggests, IPC has facilities for hosting events including meetings, roundtables, receptions, awards and press conferences by organisations and individuals who hire such facilities for usage. 

    “In this regard, the facilities have been used by diverse interest groups and individuals since IPC’s establishment 25 years ago,” the statement added.

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    The Centre, therefore, demanded an immediate halt to the siege on its premises, noting that it undermines the civic space and constitutes another attack on press freedom and the right to free speech in Nigeria.

    The ICIR reports that in recent times, journalists and media practitioners have been abducted or arrested by the police based on the Cybercrimes Act, which has been amended after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court ruled against it.

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    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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