SAMUEL Ogundipe, an investigative reporter with Premium Times has been arrested and detained by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
Asides Ogundipe, Premium Times’ editor-in-chief, Musikilu Mojeed, as well as the paper’s education correspondent, Azeezat Adedigba, were also briefly detained and manhandled by the police at the SARS headquarters in Abuja. Adedigba was later released after about three hours of detention.
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.
They repeatedly asked the journalist to disclose his source for a story he wrote which revealed a letter written by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on last week’s siege to the National Assembly by security officials.
According to Mojeed, who was later released, the deputy commissioner of police that ordered Ogundipe’s arrest insisted that he would remain in custody “unless he discloses those who gave him the document”.
OGUNDIPE’S ACCOUNT FROZEN
Premium Times reports that as part of moves to further traumatise Ogundipe, his bank account was frozen.
“One of the police officers handling the investigation, Emmanuel Onyeneho, an inspector, was heard saying they had to freeze the account to incapacitate the reporter,” the paper reported.
Apart from asking the reporter to disclose his source, the police also accused him of doing only negative stories about the police.
Onyeneho told Ogundipe that they believe the journalist had written more negative stories than positive stories about the police and they considered that a crime.
The ICIR tried to contact the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, but several calls to his phone went unanswered. On some occasions the call will show “line busy” after ringing briefly, signifying that the user was dropping the call deliberately.