Why We’re Detaining Premium Times Journalist – Nigeria Police
The Nigeria Police yesterday shed more light on why it was investigating the Premium Times Security Sector reporter, Samuel Ogundipe.
It said Ogundipe was being investigated and prosecuted for theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified documents.
The police said the reporter’s actions were detrimental to state/national security.
The Force said what Ogundipe did could jeopardise peace and lead to a breakdown of law and order, capable of causing crisis.
It said he was being prosecuted under other offences, which violated Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act and the Penal Code Law.
Spokesman Jimoh Moshood said in a statement that Ogundipe had volunteered statements and was standing trial.
The statement reads: “The Nigeria Police Force’s attention was drawn to the innuendos and misinformation in the media about the arrest and ongoing prosecution of Samuel Ogundipe of Premium Times online publication by Police Investigation Unit.
“The Force is stating that Ogundipe is being investigated and prosecuted for “theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified documents” inimical to state/national security that can jeopardise peace and lead to a breakdown of law and order, capable of precipitating crisis.
“Mr. Ogundipe is also being investigated and prosecuted under other offences, which violate Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act and the Penal Code Law, for which he has volunteered statements and is standing trial.
“It is factual to state that Ogundipe was arrested on August 14 and on completion of preliminary investigation, he was arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in less than 24 hours of his arrest.
“He was remanded in police custody and the case was adjourned till August 20.”
The Force said as a law-abiding organisation, it would ensure that the Rule of Law and its supremacy, which were essentials of democracy, prevailed at all times.
It added: “Individuals or groups, who violate the law, must be brought to justice. The Force will ensure that Nigerians, irrespective of profession, practice or career, are subject to the same law. Therefore, it wishes to impress it on the media to encourage prosecution of offenders upon whom a prima facie case has been established.
“Concerned groups or interested persons should be aware that the matter is in court and due process of law is being followed.
“The Force and the media are partners in ensuring peace, law and order, but will not compromise or allow an offender to go free or pervert the course of justice.”
The Police assured law-abiding citizens, journalists and the public of freedom of expression and other rights, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
It said it would hold in high esteem, the views of media unions, practitioners, associations and other stakeholders.
“The Force is constrained by the law to allow justice take its course and rule of law to prevail.”
It urged the public to disregard every sentiment being peddled to cast aspersions on the investigation and prosecution of the suspect.