BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The antics of the Nigeria Police over the arrest and detention of Mr. Samuel Ogundipe, a journalist working with the Premium Times online came to an end on Friday following the bail granted him by an Abuja Magistrate Court.
The police arrested Ogundipe on Tuesday over a story a story published on Premium Times on the interim report by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo on the siege on the National Assembly by personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The police asked and cajoled Ogundipe to disclose the source of getting the document which he refused to do in accordance with the ethics of the journalism profession.
The bail granted Ogundipe followed series of protests and pressures mounted for his immediate release by both national and international human rights organisations, activists and spirited individuals.
IGP Idris was believed to have ordered the arrest of Ogundipe over the report published in the Premium Time and more specifically because of his allegation that Ogundipe was found of writing negative stories against the police under his watch.
The IGP submitted a report following the sack of the former Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura in which he requested for permission of the Acting President to allow the Police search the homes of all the alleged suspects involved in the siege on the National Assembly.
Following the arrest of Ogundipe, the police wanted Ogundipe to disclose the source of getting the IGP report under duress but he refused to do so at the risk of his life, continued detention and in keeping with the ethics of the journalism profession.
However, the police on Wednesday secretly arraigned Ogundipe at a Magistrate court in Abuja without being granted access to his lawyers, family and or his employers.
The police charged Ogundipe with criminal trespass and theft of police document.
It was gathered that earlier on Wednesday, Ogundipe’s lawyer had access to him at the police facility of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) where he was detained but the lawyer was asked to go only for the police to later whisked Ogundipe to court without prior notice of arrangement.
It was while at the court that Ogundipe had access to a phone and called his employer to inform them of the skewed arrangement.
Ogundipe reportedly told his employers that; “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.”