Reactions continue to trail the illegal arrest and detention of Samuel Ogundipe, a reporter with Premium Times after his arrest Wednesday by the Nigerian police.
Ogundipe was picked up for his report on the probe of Lawal Daura, sacked director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The police had reportedly asked Ogundipe to disclose how he obtained the letter used for a story but the journalist declined in line with the ethics of journalism.
Following his arrest, Premium Times called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to prevail on the police to set him free.
The media outfit, in a statement by its Publisher, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, said: “We call on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to direct the police to release Mr Ogundipe immediately and unconditionally.
“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.
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.
Reacting to the illegality, former Vice President and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, took to his Twitter page to express concerns over the arrest of Ogundipe and assault on press freedom.
“The arrest and detention of @PremiumTimesng’s reporter by @PoliceNG for his refusal to disclose his source to a story raises serious concerns about the preservation of the confidentiality of sources. I call for the protection of press freedom as guaranteed by our constitution,” Atiku tweeted.
Meanwhile, the hashtag #FreeSamuelOgundipe is already trending as Nigerians ramp up the clamour for an end to police brutality.
The arrest and detention of Samuel Ogundipe of @PremiumTimesng by the police must be condemned by all lovers of freedom of speech and of the press. I join other well meaning Nigerians to call for his immediate release.#FreeSamuelOgundipe
— Peter Ayodele Fayose (@GovAyoFayose) August 15, 2018
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) August 15, 2018
Dear @ProfOsinbajo, on the very day you set the ball rolling on reforming SARS, the same SARS have detained a journalist, @SamuelOgundipe of @PremiumTimesng, and are trying to force him to reveal his source for a story.#freeSamuelOgundipe
— Chxta (@Chxta) August 14, 2018
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) August 14, 2018
With the arrest of Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, by the Police for refusing to disclose the source of his story, I think Acting President @ProfOsinbajo should begin his task of overhauling a unit of the Police with removal of this insubordinate IG.#FreeSamuelOgundipe pic.twitter.com/Zvq7ghczN1
— Gimba Kakanda (@gimbakakanda) August 14, 2018
My attention has also been drawn to the arrest of my Twitter Neighbour @SamuelOgundipe
It appears that while Osinbajo is trying hard to salvage the score line before Buhari returns from injury,
— Ebube D Statesman (@akaebube) August 14, 2018
I have just heard of the arrest and detention of Samuel Ogundipe.. Without Hesitation We ask the IG of Police to immediately release him..
Or have us mobilize in Protest#FreeSamuelOgundipe
— AnthonyEhilebo (@AnthonyEhilebo) August 14, 2018
On the day that the Acting President @ProfOsinbajo ordered the overhaul of SARS, the police exhibited yet more impunity by detaining the journalist Samuel Ogundipe & trying to force him to disclose his sources. Such impunity &lawlessness must stop. #FreeSamuelOgundipeNOW
— Resistance is Futile (@chrisngwodo) August 15, 2018
If the basis for the arrest and continuous detention of Samuel Ogundipe is simply because he refused to disclose his source, then the arrest and detention is wrong. #FreeSamuelOgundipe
— Abubakar Sidiq Usman (@MrAbuSidiq) August 14, 2018
I remember Lai Mohammed telling the world that there is no journalist in detention under Buhari.
Meanwhile, when Lai was lying to the world, Jones Abiri had spent 2yrs in detention, to add salt to injury, Samuel Ogundipe has joined Jones in detention 🙁 #FreeSamuelOgundipe
— Miz Cazorla (@MizCazorla1) August 14, 2018