Police authorities on Thursday broke its silence on the arrest and arraignment of Samuel Ogundipe, a reporter with the Premium Times, saying the journalist has been arraigned for theft of classified and restricted documents.
The police stated this amidst protest by a coalition of civil society groups, #Our Mumu Dondo and #Take back Nigeria Movement on Thursday, over the continued detention of the journalist which they said was a move to gag the press.
The protesters who stormed the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja, were demanding for the release of Ogundipe.
Led by popular musician, Charlie Boy and Omoyele Sowore, a presidential aspirant and publisher of Sahara Reporters, the protesters briefly attempted to barricade the entrance to the force headquarters but were restricted by the police who formed a body shield.
Force public relations officer, acting DCP, Jimoh Moshood stated in a statement hours after the siege that the attention of the police was drawn to the innuendos and misinformation in the media about the arrest and ongoing prosecution of one Samuel Ogundipe of Premium Times online publication by Police Investigation Unit.
“The force is categorically stating that one Samuel Ogundipe is being investigated and prosecuted for the offences of theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified documents” inimical to state/national security that can jeopardize peace, breakdown of law and order capable of precipitating crisis in the country.
“Mr. Samuel 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 Mr. Samuel Ogundipe was arrested on the 14th of August, 2018 and on completion of preliminary investigation, he was arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction in the FCT in less than 24 hours of his arrest. He was remanded in police custody and the case was adjourned to Monday, 20th August, 2018,” the statement said.
It said the Nigeria police as a law abiding organization will continue to ensure that the rule of law and its supremacy which are essentials of democracy prevails at all times.