A group of concerned journalists and bloggers have called on the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo to prevail on the police to release Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Concerned Journalist group said “We, the undersigned organization, are calling for the immediate release of unjustly detained journalist Samuel Ogundipe.
As an organization advocating for press freedom, we are outraged by Samuel’s arrest and detention, which are in direct violation of the ethics of his job as a journalist and his rights as a Nigerian citizen.
Samuel is a well-known and respected journalist with Premium Times.
The Nigerian police accused Ogundipe of stealing secret documents. Ibrahim Idris, Inspector-General of Police, reportedly ordered his arrest over a story on Lawal Daura, sacked Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The Nigerian police is demanding that Ogundipe must disclose how he obtained the letter IGP wrote to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Daura, which the journalist declined as it violates the golden rule of his profession.
According to Premium Times, the journalist was allegedly arraigned before a magistrate court in Kubwa, Abuja, on Wednesday, without being granted access to his lawyers.
The Police accused him of violating Sections 352, 288 and 319 of the Penal Code. However, a review of the sections, however, indicated that they are not related to the charges but are about sexual assault and attempted murder.
The Nigerian constitution guarantees a free press. That means that reporters like Samuel can’t be subject to censorship by the government, nor can government use any measures to prevent the expression of ideas before they are published, or to punish reporters for doing their job. Prior restraint by any official means is clearly unconstitutional.
We are calling on the Nigerian police to release Samuel Ogundipe immediately. The unlawful arrest of Samuel violates his constitutional rights and is an attack on press freedom in our country.
Concerned Journalist Group