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CHRICED Condemns DSS Harassment of Premium Times Journalists

Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) unequivocally condemns the going harassment of Premium Times editors and reporter by the Department of State Services (DSS). There are indications that Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe has had to go underground after the DSS launched a chase for him. The residence of the Editor-in-Chief, Muskilu Mojeed was also reportedly besieged by operatives of the DSS, apparently to arrest him. The DSS is irked by the leaked memo authored by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno who had earlier detailed how President Buhari’s Chief of Staff had been meddling and interfering with the entire security architecture, with dire implications for the stability of the country. The leaked memo, which was exclusively and extensively reported by Premium Times, also detailed how Kyari had been issuing directives to the service chiefs as if he was President in his own right.
CHRICED flays the misuse of security institutions funded by taxpayers to intimidate citizens, especially journalists who are doing their legitimate duty by reporting the actual State of governance to all citizens. Through the patriotic, bold and courageous reporting by Samuel Ogundipe, the whole country and the entire world got to know about the petty squabbles in the Presidency, and how the turf wars within the government had weakened the fight against the insurgency and other manifestations of insecurity. From the content of the leaked memo, it was also evident that even in the face of the mindless slaughter of defenceless Nigerians by terrorists, bandits and other violent criminals, President Buhari continues to project weakness by abdicating his responsibility to his Chief of Staff who has been exercising the power of the President by proxy rule.
With these facts so well established, it is condemnable that the DSS is again resorting to the discredited tactic of hounding journalists to force them to divulge the source of the leaked memo. It is shameful that the DSS as a critical security agency of the State meant to keep citizens safe has decided to travel the derided road of brow-beating journalists because they exposed the truth and nothing but the truth about the abnormalities going on in the Buhari Presidency. No matter the level of intimidation, the fact remains that the Buhari regime has to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. The current reality is that life has become so cheap, and so devalued that citizens now live in fear, and are reluctant to travel across the country. Those are the realities, which should bother the DSS, not how to harass and intimidate journalists who exhibited courage and honesty by alerting the nation about the wrangling which undermined the nation’s ability to secure itself.
We, therefore, call on the DSS to immediately end the ongoing harassment and hounding of Premium Times editors and reporters. CHRICED also admonishes the service to know that across the world, policymakers and investors are closely watching to see if the Nigerian State is serious about its commitment to the rule of law. The continuous hounding of journalists who have done no wrong would likely send the wrong message to Nigeria’s international partners and those willing to bring in their resources to invest in the country.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria! 


Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi

Executive Director

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