Online newspaper Premium Times has called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene in the arrest of its reporter, Mr Samuel Ogundipe, by the police.
The media outfit made the call on Tuesday in a statement by its Publisher, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi.
“We call on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to direct the police to release Mr Ogundipe immediately and unconditionally,” it said hours after the reporter was arrested in Abuja.
According to Premium Times, Ogundipe was arrested and detained by the police, through the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“On the day the Nigerian presidency was complaining about the excesses of a unit in the police, the same unit was forcing a Premium Times journalist to disclose his source,” it said. “Apart from Mr Ogundipe, this newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and its education correspondent, Azeezat Adedigba, were also briefly detained by the police at the SARS headquarters in Abuja.”
“Ms Adedigba was later released after about three hours of detention. Mr Mojeed and Mr Ogundipe were driven from the SARS headquarters in Abuja to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters, where Mr Ogundipe was made to write a statement,” the newspaper added.
At the Force headquarters, it said the journalist was repeatedly asked to disclose his source for a story published by the media outfit.
The newspaper noted that the said story, which was also published in some other media, revealed a letter purportedly written by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to Professor Osinbajo on the blockade of the National Assembly by security officials.
It said the police had yet to offer a coherent reason for their denial of the reporter his freedom and demanded his immediate and unconditional release.
Premium Times condemned the arrest, stressing that Ogundipe’s detention was in gross violation of his rights, the Nigerian laws and all democratic tenets.
“This heavy-handed treatment of a journalist against whom no case of violation of the law has been made is an embarrassment to Nigeria and advertises the country as disdainful of its own laws and democratic practice,” it said.