NUJ Sues DSS For Detaining Journalist Over ‘Offensive’ Story

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The Kogi council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has instituted a court case against the Department of State Services, DSS, at the Federal High Court, Lokoja, over ‘unlawful’ arrest and continued detention of one of its members, Friday Ogungbemi.

Ogungbemi, a Lokoja-based journalist, was reportedly arrested and detained by the DSS on November 30 for allegedly publishing offensive stories in the November 23 –December 15, 2016 edition of the ‘Policy and Lawmakers magazine’.

The suit was filed by NUJ counsel, J.U. Usman on behalf of the affected journalist on Tuesday, and it sought the enforcement of applicant’s fundamental human rights as well as a N5 million damages for unlawful incarceration and infringement on his fundamental rights.

The reliefs, according to the counsel, are based on three grounds including that the applicant had no criminal records and that his arrest and continued detention over the publication was unreasonable, illegal and unconstitutional.

He also held that there was a competent court of jurisdiction within 16-kilometer radius from the detention facility of the respondent wherein the applicant was detained but the respondent refused or neglected to charge him to court within the constitutional period.

On Monday the Kogi State NUJ council directed journalists in the state to boycott government activities to protest the unlawful arrest.

The directive was contained in a communiqué issued in Lokoja after an emergency congress meeting following failure of all entreaties to the state government and the DSS to secure the release of Ogungbemi.

“In view of the gross abuse of office by the DSS, probably acting on the directive of some highly placed groups or individuals, journalists should indefinitely boycott the coverage of all government activities in the state,” the communiqué read.

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