Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria (OMPAN), Ogun Chapter and the entire National body of the Association have jointly condemed the unlawful arrest and detention of Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe at the detention facility of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) in Abuja.
This was contained in an official release from the National body of the Association signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Ismaila Yahaya Kana and picked up by NEWS FLAKES NG.
The release reads:
Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria is shocked at the arrest of Samuel Ogundipe of PremiumTimes, and condemns strongly, his continued detention by the Nigerian police for refusing to give up his sources.
OMPAN joins other well meaning local and international organization to call for his immediate and unconditional release as well as unfreezing of his account”.
See full official release below:
OMPAN PRESS RELEASE
“Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria is shocked at the arrest of Samuel Ogundipe of PremiumTimes, and condemns strongly, his continued detention by the Nigerian police for refusing to give up his sources.
OMPAN joins other well meaning local and international organization to call for his immediate and unconditional release as well as unfreezing of his account.
OMPAN wonders why only Samuel Ogundipe was singled out for this unlawful, evil and undemocratic arrest when so many online and print media houses carried the story in question.
It is very strange that in a country that claims to be practicing democracy, a member of the fourth realm can be arrested and detained by the police without provocation.
OMPAN wants to stress that Mr Samuel Ogundipe was well within his rights to report the said letter and should not be held responsible for the inability of the Nigerian Police to manage its confidentiality or put a tight lid on all the sensitive documents it wants to keep away from the public.
The fact that Mr Samuel Ogundipe was exercising his constitutionally protected right as a journalist can never be overemphasized and not even the Nigerian police has the power to take that away from him.
OMPAN notes with chagrin that Nigeria is fast becoming a Banana republic because of the high handedness of the police and other security agencies and this is not acceptable in a democratic dispensation.
OMPAN wants to state very clearly that Nigerians can no longer tolerate this Military Junta style that the police is adopting to silence reporters and starting with the immediate and unconditional release of Samuel Ogundipe, the police must desist from further embarrassing Nigeria in the eye of the international community.
The Nigerian police has already inflicted a great deal of pain on innocent and law abiding Nigerians already and this must stop!
OMPAN recalls how SARS officers arrested, molested and compelled its members in Owerri to pay a huge bribe before matching them to an ATM to withdraw the bribe money or risk being implicated to a crime. But for the resourcefulness of the Journalists in procuring incontrovertible pictorial evidence of that event, they probably would have been held in similar fashion as Samuel Ogundipe.
This is unacceptable. The police must as a matter urgency retrace its footsteps and toe the path of civility and service to humanity as is commensurate with their profession the world over.
Comrade Ismaila Yahaya Kana
In a related development, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has also condemned the arrest and detention of Premium Times Reporter, Samuel Ogundipe by the police at the detention facility of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) in Abuja.
The NUJ in statement signed by its National President, Abdulwaheed Odusile, said it was horrified by the constant harassment and molestation of journalists by the police and other agents of the state and requested that such should abate forthwith.
It noted that confidentiality of sources is necessary for good journalism to flourish, adding that journalists should not be coerced into revealing such sources.
Also a former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has equally lent his voice to condemn the arrest and detention of PREMIUM TIMES journalist, Samuel Ogundipe.
He made the condemnation via his official Twitter handle on Wednesday as he called for 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,” he tweeted. 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 Abubakar (@atiku) August 15, 2018
Similarly, many Nigerians have also condemned Mr Ogundipe’s detention and also called for his immediate release.
NEWS FLAKES further gathered that not only have Civil Society groups, local and international rights organisations demanded Mr Ogundipe’s release, the hashtag #FreeSamuelOgundipe on Twitter has trended since Tuesday with many tweeting at the police.
Meanwhile, despite these, the police spokesperson claimed he was not aware of the arrest.
Earlier, the police made a first public statement on the arrest and detention of Mr Ogundipe.
The police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, feigned ignorance as he said he is not aware of the details of the arrest. He also said no Nigerian is beyond being arrested by the police when an investigation is being carried out.
Recall that the police, through the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), on Tuesday arrested and detained Mr Ogundipe, who covers the security sector for PREMIUM TIMES.
He was arrested for reporting the letter by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on the sacked and detained Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Malam Lawal Daura.
Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story and many more fresh global updates shortly.