The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has frozen the bank account of Samuel Ogundipe, a PremiumTimes General Assignment reporter, over a report published by the newspaper on the investigation of former DSS DG Lawal Daura by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris.
Ogundipe was arrested at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday and driven from the SARS headquarters in Abuja to the IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters, where he was made to write a statement concerning the source of the story.
In accordance with the ethics of journalism, Ogundipe has declined giving his source, prompting SARS to freeze his salary account with Ecobank as part of efforts to frustrate him.
One of the police officers handling the investigation, Emmanuel Onyeneho, an inspector, was heard saying they had to freeze the account to incapacitate the reporter.
At the Force headquarters, where he was taken, a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the IGP Monitoring Unit, Sani Ahmadu, was heard directing lawyers to “rush to court” to obtain a warrant to detain Mr. Ogundipe.
On Tuesday, SARS took into its custody Ogundipe alongside Musikilu Mojeed, the Editor-In-Chief of PremiumTimes, and Azeezat Adedigba, a reporter on the education beat.
However, Adedigba was released after three hours in detention.
“Mr Mojeed and Mr 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," the website reported.
“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 paper’s critical reporting of his activities.”
On Thursday, August 9, following the blockage of the National Assembly by the DSS, it was reported that IGP Idris accused Lawal Daura, the sacked Director General of DSS, of gross violation of the Nigerian Constitution by ordering the siege.
However, PremiumTimes, as well as other newspapers, uploaded a letter signed by the IGP, which claimed that Daura masterminded the siege to serve the political interest of some high-level politicians.