Don Okere, Editor of Daily Independent, has insisted that the newspaper will not retract a story for which the State Security Service (SSS) has detained a journalist.
Okere said the SSS had demanded that the retraction of the story with an apology or the matter would be charged to court.
“We asked them to charge the matter to court because we’re not retracting our story but they have refused to do that,” he told Premium Times.
Tony Ezimakor, the Abuja Bureau Chief of Daily Independent, has been in SSS detention since last Wednesday after honouring an invitation over his story detailing how the Buhari administration paid millions of dollars as ransom to Boko Haram for the release of some the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
“They’re asking him how he got the story and [they] want him to release his source,” Okere said.
The Editor explained that the SSS wrote a letter requesting him to come to its headquarters in Abuja.
“They said I should come and see the Director of Operations at the SSS in Abuja. But when I told them I am based in Lagos where we have our head office, they started looking for me,” he said.
Okere said the SSS sent agents to look for him at the Lagos office of Daily Independent twice, but he was unavailable at both times.
“They later asked if we have a reporter in Abuja and I told them yes. I then asked our Bureau chief to honour the invitation, which he did last Wednesday and he was detained.”
Okere said based on their exchanges, it was clear that the SSS operatives did not know that the story carried Ezimakor’s byline.
He demanded for the release of the detained journalist, saying Daily Independent and Ezimakor’s family were worried about his health, as the detainee suffers from hypertension and ulcer.
Click here to read Tony Ezimakor’s full story, which prompted the detention by the SSS.