BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Following outcry by different organisations and spirited individuals against the arrest and detention of Samuel Ogundipe of Premium Times online newspaper, the Nigeria Police on Thursday said the journalists is being investigated and prosecuted for “theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified documents” inimical to national security that can jeopardize peace, breakdown of law and order capable of precipitating crisis in the Country.
Ogundipe published the story of the report of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris to Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on the siege on the National Assembly by the Department on State Services (DSS), which the police considered disdainful and insisting that Ogundipe should disclose the source of his information which is also against the ethics of the journalism profession.
A statement by the Force Public Relations officer of the Nigeria Police, Acting DCP Jimoh Moshood said Ogundipe is also being investigated and prosecuted under other offences which violate Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act, and the Penal Code Law, adding that the journalist has volunteered statements and is standing trial.
Moshood said while the Nigeria Police Force and the media are veritable partners in ensuring peace, law and order in the country, the Police Force will not compromise or allow an offender to go scot free or pervert the end of justice.
According to him; “It is factual to state that Mr. Samuel Ogundipe was arrested on the 14thof August, 2018 and on completion of Preliminary Investigation, he was arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction in the FCT in less than Twenty Four (24) Hours of his arrest. He was remanded to Police custody and the case was adjourned to Monday, 20th August, 2018.
The Police spokesman said that as a law abiding organization, the Police will continue to ensure that the Rule of Law and its supremacy which are essentials of democracy prevails at all times, adding however that individual(s) or group(s) who violates the law must be brought to justice.
According to Moshood; “The Force will also ensure that all Nigerians irrespective of profession, practice or carrier are subject to the same Law, and therefore wishes to impress it on the Media to encourage prosecution of all offenders upon whom a prima facie case has been established.
“Every concerned group(s) or interested person(s) should be aware that the matter is in court and the due process of law is being followed.
“The Force is hereby assuring all law abiding Nigerians, respected media practitioners and other members of the public of a guaranteed freedom of expression and other rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, and will continue to hold in high esteem with utmost respect, the views of prominent and notable media unions, practitioners associations and other stakeholders.
Moshood said the police is constrained by the law to allow justice to take its course and rule of law to prevail in this case.