Press Freedom and Safety of Journalists Field Monitors from the six geopolitical zones of the country on Thursday demanded a stop to the continued harassment of the Executive Director of the International Press Centre (IPC), Comrade Lanre Arogundade and other journalists in the country by the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) and other security agencies.
The monitors in a press statement signed by Rosemary Nwaebuni, South-South; Moses Ojo, South-West; Naomi Okoh, North-Central; Elizabeth Achuagu, South-East; Bello Mujtaba Ramalan, North-West and Abdulkareem Haruna, North-East lamented that media professionals have become endangered species in the course of carrying out their constitutional responsibilities.
They frowned at the consistent attacks, intimidation, violence and sometimes killing of journalists by those whose responsibility it was to protect lives and property. “Such violence against journalists must stop”, they stressed.
The monitors noted that Mr Arogundade was on Thursday held at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport by the DSS for nearly two hours while returning from The Gambia where he had gone to conduct a training programme on ‘Conflict Sensitive Journalism’.
A senior official of the DSS had confirmed to the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors that it was a case of mistaken identity when he called to know why Arogundade was being detained.
However, Comrade Arogundade confirmed that it has become a reoccurring decimal as a similar scenario happened when he was leaving for the Gambia on January 30, 2022, adding that he had to ask the DSS officers the reason why he was always subjected to such unnecessary harassment that almost made him miss his flights sometimes.
The Monitors, therefore, demanded a stop to all these harassments on the Executive Director of IPC (Arogundade) and other journalists in the country, even as they called on the Director-General of DSS to carry out adequate training for his officers and provide adequate information management mechanism to avoid undue
embarrassment of media practitioners other citizens and ridiculing of the organization.
They also demanded an unreserved apology from the DSS to Arogundade for confiscating his cellphone and other harassment meted to him while he was detained last Thursday.