The Nigeria Police Force has finally advanced reasons for the arrest and ongoing prosecution of Samuel Ogundipe, a journalist working with Premium Times by its operatives.
In a statement issued against the background of calls for the release of the journalist on Thursday, Jimoh Moshood, spokesperson for the Police said Ogundipe is being investigated and prosecuted for the offences of “theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified documents” inimical to State/National Security that can jeopardize peace, breakdown of law and order capable of precipitating crisis in the Country.
He added that the journalist is also being investigated and prosecuted under other offences which violate Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act, and the Penal Code Law for which he has volunteered statements and is standing trial.
The statement by the police further reads: “It is factual to state that Mr. Samuel Ogundipe was arrested on the 14th of August, 2018 and on completion of Preliminary Investigation, he was arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction in the FCT in less than Twenty Four (24) Hours of his arrest. He was remanded to Police custody and the case was adjourned to Monday, 20th August, 2018.
“The Nigeria Police Force as a law abiding organization will continue to ensure that the Rule of Law and its supremacy which are essentials of democracy prevails at all times.
“However, individual(s) or group(s) who violates the law must be brought to justice, the Force will also ensure that all Nigerians irrespective of profession, practice or carrier are subject to the same Law, and therefore wishes to impress it on the Media to encourage prosecution of all offenders upon whom a prima facie case has been established. Every concerned group(s) or interested person(s) should be aware that the matter is in court and the due process of law is being followed.
“The Nigeria Police Force and the media are veritable partners in ensuring peace, law and order in the country, but the Force will not compromise or allow an offender to go scot free or pervert the end of justice.
“The Force is hereby assuring all law abiding Nigerians, respected media practitioners and other members of the public of a guaranteed freedom of expression and other rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, and will continue to hold in high esteem with utmost respect, the views of prominent and notable media unions, practitioners associations and other stakeholders. However, the Force is constrained by the Law to allow justice to take its course and rule of law to prevail in this case.
“Consequently, members of the public are implored to disregard every sentiment being peddled to cast aspersions on the investigation and the ongoing prosecution of the offender in court.”