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Report: DSS demands source of story to free detained journalist

Don Okere, editor of Daily Independent, says the Department of State Services (DSS) wants Tony Ezimakor (pictured), Abuja bureau chief of the newspaper, to disclose the source of a story he wrote before releasing him from its custody.

In an interview with Premium Times, Okere said Ezimakor was detained over a report detailing how the federal government allegedly paid Boko Haram millions of dollars to secure the release of 82 Chibok girls.

The bureau chief was invited to the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday and since then he has not been released.

“They are asking him how he got the story and want him to release his source,” Okere.

“We asked them to charge the matter to court because we are not retracting our story but they have refused to do that.

“They said I should come and see the director of operations at the SSS in Abuja. But when I told them I am based in Lagos where we have our head office, they started looking for me.

“They later asked if we have a reporter in Abuja and I told them ‘yes.’ I then asked our bureau chief to honour the invitation which he did last Wednesday and was detained.”

The DSS is yet to make a statement on Ezimakor’s arrest.

The Daily Independent Abuja bureau chief is said to be treating hypertension and ulcer and this has reportedly made his family worried.

A member of staff of the newspaper told the TheCable that his lawyer had been taking food and medicine to him as his wife has not been able to see him since the arrest.

On Saturday, the federal capital territory (FCT) chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) called on the DSS to release Ezimakor “unconditionally”, arguing that his continued detention is a violation of the journalist’s fundamental human rights.