Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 17 August 2018 | 1,348 times
A magistrate’s court in Abuja has granted bail to Samuel Ogundipe, a PREMIUM TIMES reporter who was arrested on Tuesday.
This comes after activists and organisations, within and outside the country, mounted pressure on the Nigeria Police to release the reporter.
Ibrahim Idris, Inspector-General of Police, had reportedly ordered the arrest of Ogundipe over a story on the report he submitted to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the recent blockade of the National Assembly. Idris submitted the report after the sack of Lawal Daura, erstwhile Acting Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The IGP had requested that the force be given the permission to search the residences of all the suspects involved in the national assembly blockade, including Daura.
After the leak, the police asked Ogundipe to disclose the source of getting the document but he refused in line with the ethics of the profession. The journalist was secretly arraigned at the magistrate’s court in Abuja on Wednesday without being granted access to his lawyers. He was reportedly charged with criminal trespass and theft of police document.
The newspaper had reported that though Ogundipe’s lawyer was allowed access to him at the facility of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Abuja on Wednesday morning, the lawyer was asked to leave only for him (Ogundipe) to be later taken to court “without prior notice”.
It was at the court that the journalist reportedly got a phone to inform the newspaper of the development. He was quoted as saying: “They brought me to a magistrate court in Kubwa where they arraigned me. The magistrate said they should detain me for five days.
“They accused me of criminal trespass. They said I stole secret documents. The magistrate does not know the details, because they did not include in the charge that I am a journalist. I was not allowed to contact my lawyers.
“They also did not allow me to call anyone until the magistrate ordered them to let me make one call. I am currently using the Registrar’s phone to make this call and they are collecting it.”
Jimoh Moshood, Force Spokesman, had insisted that Ogundipe would be tried.
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