23.1 C

Police PRO says arrested journalist has no right to publish classified document




Jimoh Moshood, Police Public Relations Officer, has said no journalist has a right to access and publish classified documents, notwithstanding the Freedom of Information Act.

He said this on Thursday during a protest organised by Concerned Nigerians, a civil society organisation, to demand for the release of Samuel Ogundipe, a Premium Times journalist arrested and detained on Tuesday.

“What we are saying is that even the Freedom of Information Act is limited when it comes to documents that are classified,” he said. “And if you have access to such a document, it is wrong; and that is the case we are investigating. The case the police department is investigating with respect to Samuel Ogundipe is that of theft and unjustified access to documents that are restricted and classified.”

“This document does not fall under what the Freedom of Information Act permits a journalist to have,” Moshood added.

He said no one is pressurising Ogundipe into revealing the source of his story, and that detention is not the same as punishment. In reaction to this, presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore, who also participated in the protest, argued that illegal detention is pressure on its own.

“And to insist that a journalist has no right to be in possession of a document from which he can quote is wrong,” Sowore said. “Where do journalists get their stories from? They get them from unusual places, and the law is very clear as to the right of a journalist not to disclose his source.”

The Police PRO also said Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, did not order for the arrest of Ogundipe, despite conflicting reports.

- Advertisement -

“The I.G. did not order for the arrest of Samuel Ogundipe,” he said.

“As a police officer, you do not need the I.G.’s order to carry out your duty. People should disabuse their mind that the IGP ordered for his arrest. Any police officer at any level has the right to arrest where there is an accusation, and to go on with the process of investigation and prosecution. You do not need an I.G. order to do that.”

While admitting that every Nigerian who is arrested is entitled to be represented by a lawyer, Moshood said he is unaware Ogundipe was not given access to legal representation.

“But I wasn’t there,” he replied after he was told the judge at the Magistrate Court offered her phone for Ogundipe’s lawyer to be contacted after he did not show up at the hearing.

“I am briefing the IGP immediately that Mr Deji Adeyanju and other notable Nigerians were here,” he said. “And I will convey your message to him. But as we speak, the investigation is ongoing. I want to say that everything you have said is important, and we are going to address them.”

The ICIR placed numerous calls to the Police PRO on Wednesday, a day to the protest, to inquire about the condition of the detained journalist, but none of the calls was answered. He also did not respond to SMS.

Author profile

'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.

Support the ICIR

We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.


If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.



SPECIAL REPORT: Nigeria tops list of grounded aircraft fleets globally

NIGERIA has attained the first position in the top 10 countries’ list with the...

Shiroro attack: Death toll rises to 48, 34 soldiers killed – Community youth leader

MORE bodies of soldiers and police officers killed during an ambush by terrorists at...

Peter Obi to supporters: Don’t attack people with different views

PRESIDENTIAL Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi has appealed to his supporters...

NDLEA intercepts N4.5 billion heroin inside baby food packs at Lagos airport

THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted 22 blocks of heroin weighing...

Buhari urges Nigerians to shun road abuse, maintain speed limit

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to desist from abusing roads constructed by the...

Most Read


Subscribe to our newsletter