PREMIUM TIMES appreciates all persons of conscience and civic groups in and outside Nigeria who, in firm defence of free speech, joined in demanding the immediate release of our reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, from the custody of the Nigeria Police.
Mr Ogundipe was arrested on August 14 for his refusal on the grounds of professional ethics to disclose the source of a story on police investigations into the blockade of the Nigerian parliament by the State Security Service.
The police thereafter secretly arraigned the reporter before a Magistrate’s court in Kubwa, Abuja, and obtained permission to detain him for five days until August 20.
Following sustained outcry against his incarceration, the court reviewed its position and granted bail to the reporter. Mr Ogundipe has since been released, after meeting the bail conditions.
Given recent experiences of prolonged detention without trial in Nigeria, including of journalists, Mr Ogundipe’s release was no doubt influenced by the overwhelming public expression of outrage in and outside Nigeria that attended his detention.
We thank all who through speech and action joined in the protest against the apparent clampdown on the press and war on free speech manifest in this incident.
We thank the Nigerian Union of Journalists, civil and human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, legal practitioners, political leaders and officials of government at different levels who , openly or discreetly, contributed to securing freedom for Mr Ogundipe.
We are grateful to local and foreign media organisations who reported the event as it unfolded and pressured the authorities to do the right thing. We also thank individuals at home and abroad who called to encourage us in our work.
Premium Times restates its resolute commitment to the quest for truth and justice through the practice of ethical journalism, and pursuit of the ideals of open society and accountability in public affairs. In the immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi, truth never damages a just cause.
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