Detained PREMIUM TIMES Reporter Released on Bail

PREMIUM TIMES reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, has been released on bail after three days in detention over an article he published based on a leaked government report.

Ogundipe’s article which was also published by other news media besides The Premium Times, in which the reporter disclosed portions of a report by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.  The report indicted the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) Lawal Daura, who was sacked for his role in a recent siege on the National Assembly.

Following the publication, Ogundipe was arrested by the police on August 14, 2018 and subjected to intense psychological pressure to reveal the source of his story. He was secretly arraigned before court the following day without legal representation. On that day, the presiding judge at the Grade 1 Magistrate Court in Kubwa, Abuja, Abdulwahab Mohammed granted the police request to keep him in custody for five days until August 20.

Ogundipe was however released on bail on August 17, after appearing in court a second time. On this occasion, the Management of Premium Times got intelligence about the arraignment and had a counsel in court to apply for a bail for the reporter who has refused to disclose the source of his information.

A day earlier, the head of federal police public relations, Jimoh Moshood, had released a statement accusingOgundipe of being in possession of classified documents. Jimoh added that Ogundipe’s action was “capable of causing a breach of national security and a breakdown of law and order.”

The MFWA welcomes the release of Ogundipe and commends the management of PREMIUM TIMES and the media fraternity in Nigeria for showing solidarity with the persecuted reporter.We also call on the Nigerian authorities to drop all charges against the journalist who has committed no crime in publishing what is clearly a public interest report.

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