Human right activist and a constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has called on an online medium, Premium Times not fail to institute an action in court against the Nigerian Police Force, regardless of whether its Security Correspondent, Samuel Ogundipe is subsequently released or kept in prison through Tuesday night.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said : “Whether Samuel is released tonight (Tuesday) or arraigned in court tomorrow by the police, Premium Times (PT) should take advantage of this unlawful demand of the police to challenge criminal libel and other obnoxious anti press laws in the statute book.
“While declaring seditious publications illegal and unconstitutional in 1983 in Arthur Nwankwo v The State; the Court of Appeal held that any public officer who feels defamed or embarrassed by any publication should sue for libel and not use the machinery of the State to harass his political opponents. The court proceeded to urge Nigerians to resist any attempt to use any of the laws imported into the country by the erstwhile colonial rulers to repress us,” Falana said.
In a similar reaction, the Centre Coordinator, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, Motunrayo Alaka, said the police or any security operatives have no right to demand the source of a story from a journalist.
“It’s very wrong. The police have absolutely no right to demand the source of a reporter’s story. If the reporter reveals his source, how will he get another story? This is an attack on the media and it is totally unacceptable. We are practicing a democracy and such a development goes against the principle of democracy. This is yet another media attack by this government and it is totally not acceptable,” Alaka said.
In his reaction, the Chief Executive officer, Connected Development and founder of Follow the Money, Hamza Lawal, described the action of the security operatives as undemocratic and unfortunate.
“This is undemocratic, a deliberate attempt to undermine Nigeria’s democracy. It is quite sad and unfortunate that Nigeria’s highest law enforcement agency is being used for intimidating, rather than protecting the Nigerian people.”
Lawal called on the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to call the police to order.