Stop Harassing Journalists, Media Houses, Ozekhome Tells FG

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    •Saraki’s media aide seeks release of Ogundipe

    Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Martins Ifijeh in Lagos

    A constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome has warned the federal government to stop the unwarranted harassment of the 4th estate of the realm.

    This is coming as the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President of the Senate, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, has called for the unconditional release of the detained Premium Times’ journalist, Mr. Samuel Ogundipe.
    Ozekhome who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the latest onslaught, assault and detention carried out by the government against Premium Times and veteran journalist, Ogundipe, and the Editor-In-Chief of Premium Times, Misikilu Mojeed, was condemnable.

    In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, the senior lawyer said journalism is the only entity recognised by section 22 of the Nigerian constitution, to hold government accountable and responsible to the Nigerian people.
    He said, “Premium Times is a well-known pro-masses online publication, and their ‘offence’ is that this same media house that had exposed the ricocheting and never ending NYSC certificate forgery saga of Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, also published a yet unrefuted skewed interim report by the Police, forwarded to acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, on the well deserved sacking of Lawal Daura, over his ignoble role in laying siege to the National Assembly.

    “The Police has since abandoned its constitutional role under sections 214 and 215 of the constitution and section 4 of the Police Act, of protecting and defending the Nigerian people, in an aberrative preference for being an instrument of government tyranny, oppression, repression and arbitrary subjugation of the very people it was set up to protect and defend in the first place.”

    Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President of the Senate, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, has called for the unconditional release of Ogundipe.

    Olaniyonu in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday said he aligned with other journalists to frown at the continued incarceration of the detained journalist.

    “I want the world to know that I, and my colleagues in this profession will continue to stand alongside Samuel Ogundipe. We will continue to speak up for him and demand his immediate and unconditional release. We will also continue to demand that due process must be followed and freedom of speech and that of the press must be protected,” the journalist said.
    According to him, the continued illegal detention of Ogundipe, is an affront on the fourth estate of the realm and an assault on freedom of the press, freedom of speech and due process.

    “This is a democracy and even when it hurts, journalists must be free to write their truthful stories and protect their sources without the fear of being picked up and tried secretly.

    “It is a settled issue in our jurisprudence that a journalist cannot be compelled to disclose the source of his or her information. In cases like Tony Momoh versus Senate, Ray Ekpu Vs IG and many others, our courts have decided that the journalist cannot be compelled to reveal the source of his story,” he said.