Global human rights organisation, Amnesty International (AI), has put out a call for urgent action for the release of PREMIUM TIMES’ journalist, Samuel Ogundipe, who was arrested on Tuesday by the Nigerian Police.
An Urgent Action is one of AI’s most effective way to call for immediate action on human rights related issues. Because of the call for urgent action, all branches of AI’s around the world are expected to write to the Nigerian government, international institutions and other stakeholders demanding the immediate release of Mr Ogundipe, who is PREMIUM TIMES’ security correspondent.
AI in the statement called on its network of right groups around the world to send urgent appeals to Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for Mr Ogundipe’s immediate release.
After his arrest on Tuesday, the police asked Mr Ogundipe to disclose his source for a story about a report on the investigation into the invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) which Mr Idris had submitted to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The demand to reveal his source negates the tenets of ethical journalism.
On Wednesday, the police secretly arraigned him without access to a lawyer. The arrest of the journalist has sparked global condemnation with calls for his immediate release.
On Thursday, the spokesperson of the police Jimoh Moshood, told a group of protesters demanding the release of Mr Ogundipe that the journalist is being investigated for criminal trespass and theft of police document.
He said the journalist is also being prosecuted under other offences which violate Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act, and the Penal Code Law.
“Even the FOI Act limits access to classified information. The matter is already before the court and as a Nigerian he has the right to defend himself. But where a document that is classified goes out, we also have a duty to ask how it was leaked,” Mr Moshood said.