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Police arrest Peoples Gazette journalists over alleged defamation

Police arrest Peoples Gazette journalists over alleged defamation
July 22
17:01 2022

Five editorial staff members of Peoples Gazette, an Abuja-based newspaper, have been detained by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over an allegation bordering on defamation of character.

TheCable understands that five police officers from the Utako division arrived the newspaper’s office, opposite NNPC quarters in Utako, at 12:35pm on Friday, and “arrested” John Adenekan, an assistant managing editor.

Later, the officers were said to have returned to the office and “arrested” Ameedat Adeyemi, Grace Oke, Sammy Ogbu and Justina Tayani. 

Samuel Ogundipe, publisher of the newspaper, confirmed the development to TheCable.

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“Our offices just raided by the police; an editor arrested,” he said.

He added that there has been pressure on the newspaper to explain how one of their recently-published stories was sourced.

Another member of the editorial team told TheCable that the officers arrested the reporters, following the unavailability of Ogundipe and Adefemola Akintade, a reporter with the newspaper.

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Josephine Adeh, the FCT police spokesperson, however, said it was an invitation, following a petition written against the newspaper over alleged defamation of character. 

“I was surprised. How can we raid in the afternoon? And how can we be raiding a media house as if it’s a criminal gang? There was no raid,” Adeh said.

“It’s just an invitation. We received a letter of complaint for defamation of character. We now invited them. We are carrying the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) along. The secretary of NUJ is there with them where they are giving statements. We are just investigating a case.” 

In January 2021, the newspaper had accused the federal government of restricting access to its website.

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The platform’s headquarters was also reportedly invaded in January 2022 by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

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