Presidential aspirant and publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore; music icon, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charlie Boy; and Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, on Thursday led protesters to the Force Headquarters in Abuja over the continued incarceration of Premium Times journalist, Samuel Ogundipe.
Ogundipe was arrested on Tuesday by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja.
He has since been incarcerated by the police, with the police arraigning him before a Magistrate Court on Wednesday without allowing him legal representation.
Ogundipe’s arrest followed his refusal to disclose the source of the document for a story on the interim report the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, sent to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the blockade of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services on the instruction of the agency’s sacked Director General, Lawal Daura.
The protesters, a coalition of civil society groups, #OurMumuDondo, occupied the entrance of the Louis Edet house for about two hours.
Adeyanju said: “This is a deliberate attempt to intimidate Ogundipe and other journalists.
“It is bad for the image of the country and the police.
“We will not negotiate the freedom of the press with anybody, no matter who the person is.
“The police must release Ogundipe unconditionally with an apology.
“It is important to note that if this can happen to Ogundipe, it can happen to anybody.
“A situation where people use public office to intimidate and harass journalists, because the goal is to intimidate Samuel and dampen his spirit, is condemnable.
“We will not allow our country to be dragged down like this.
“As stakeholders in the Nigeria project, we are doing our best to ensure that no Nigerian lives in fear in a democracy.”
Sowore said: “The police must learn to respect human rights.
“We are going to protest till our space is respected.
“The police are supposed to be working for the people and not against them.
“The role of the press is defined, even in the constitution.
“We will not compromise on that.”