The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) at the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters in Abuja, Sani Ahmadu, has said he does not care if compelling a journalist to disclose his source embarrasses Nigeria.
Mr Ahmadu said this while responding to a question posed to him by the Premium Times Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, regarding the arrest and detention of Samuel Ogundipe through subterfuge.
Mr Mojeed asked the police chief if he was aware that it was globally wrong to force a journalist to disclose source for a story, and thus could be embarrasing for Nigeria. In response, Mr Ahmadu said, “I don’t care.” He shouted at the top of his voice threatening the editor.
The Nigerian police, through the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), on Tuesday arrested and detained Mr Ogundipe, who covers the security sector.
Apart from Mr Ogundipe, this newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and its education correspondent, Azeezat Adedigba, were also briefly detained and manhandled by the police at the SARS headquarters in Abuja.
Ms Adedigba was later released after over three hours of detention, same as Mr Mojeed.
Messrs Mojeed and Ogundipe were driven from the SARS headquarters in Abuja to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters where Mr Ogundipe was made to write a statement.
At the Force headquarters, a DCP was heard directing lawyers to “rush to court” to obtain a warrant to detain Mr Ogundipe.
Mr Mojeed, thereafter, asked Mr Ahmadu if he (the DCP) was aware that asking a journalist to reveal his source of a story could become an embarrassment to Nigeria as global journalism standards forbid such.
“I don’t care if I embarrass Nigeria or not. I have the right to keep him here and I will keep him until he reveals his source,” the DCP said. “We are ready for it (to embarrass Nigeria). Go and tell that to those who are afraid of the media. We are not.”
Officials at the police headquarters told PREMIUM TIMES that the directive to detain the journalist came directly from the Inspector General of Police who is said to be angry at this newspaper’s critical reporting of his activities.
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