The Akin Fadeyi Foundation (AFF) says the “horrifying days” of Decre No. 4 is back to the country.
Decree No. 4 was promulgated in 1984 under the Muhammadu Buhari regime in 1984. The decree was targeted at the media and journalists were tried and convicted on that basis.
Samuel Ogundipe, a Premium Times reporter, was arrested on Tuesday over a story on the report Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police (IGP), submitted to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo over the blockade at the national assembly.
Idris submitted the report following the sack of Lawal Daura, former director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a statement on Wednesday, Akin Fadeyi, executive director of the foundation, said the arrest is unlawful and a mockery of a government that has just announced a reform of the police.
“We at the Akin Fadeyi Foundation (AFF), conveners of the inter-sectoral campaign against corruption in Nigeria – Corruption Not In My Country are alarmed and outraged over the arrest and detention of Mr. Samuel Ogundipe on the orders of the Nigeria police,” the statement read.
“This was after the editor-in-chief, Muskilu Mojeed, and the education reporter, Azeezat Adedigba, who turned themseves in voluntarily on invitation were reportedly harrassed and manhandled.
“This rising attack is not just appalling, it signals a disturbing and gory descent back into the abyss of the better forgotten and horrifying days of decree four, where the muzzling of press freedom characterized the regime of former head of state, general Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is a sad irony indeed, that the same general Buhari, a beneficiary of freedom of expression under democracy through which he became a civilian President has returned to running a repressive government through a security apparatus that is becoming increasingly rascally.
“The detention of Mr. Samuel Ogundipe now is regrettable, reckless, unlawful and makes a huge mockery of a government that has just announced a planned policy reform of the same Police institution. It is equally laughable that a supposed law enforcement institution which is expected to be informed and versed in the doctrinal tenets of the media profession regarding confidentiality is demanding and pressurizing Samuel Ogundipe, a reporter to divulge the source of information over a story published by the newspaper, amd several newspapers on a correspondence between the Inspector-general of police and the vice-president.
“We expected the police to know better, pick a learning from Samuel’s bold exposure and therefore, finetune it’s internal processes for better outputs in subsequent outings.”
Fadeyi added that the detention of Ogundipe and other journalists “indicate that the planned reform of SARS is sheer poltical campaign gimmick to hoodwink the Nigerian electorates into returning this government to power in 2019.”