A reporter with the online newspaper Premium Times, Mr. Samuel Ogundipe, was on August 14, 2018 arrested by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
Samuel who honoured an invitation by SARS by going to its headquarters in Abuja was later taken to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters where he was detained. The Police also froze his bank account.
The medium’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and its education correspondent, Ms Azeezat Adedigba, were also arrested, manhandled and briefly detained by the police Abuja.
While Ms Adedigba released after about three hours of detention, Musikilu and Samuel were driven from the SARS headquarters to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters where the police forced Samuel to write a statement and then detained while Musikilu was released.
While the journalists were at the Force headquarters, a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the IGP Monitoring Unit, Sani Ahmadu, directed lawyers to “rush to court” to obtain a warrant to detain Samuel.
Samuel was asked to disclose the source of his story on a letter written by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on the Department of State Service (DSS) siege to the National Assembly. He was also accused of publishing mainly negative stories about the police.
According to Musikilu, when he alerted the DCP that it was wrong to compel a journalist to disclose his source of information, he got furious and threatened the journalist. Musikilu said the DCP “… said the police was acting within the law and that Samuel would remain detained unless he discloses those who gave him the document”.
The same day he was arrested, the Nigerian Police, through the SARS, froze the journalist’s salary bank account with Ecobank.