A Nigerian Journalist with Premium Times, Samuel Ogundipe, is currently in hiding, after the Department of State Security Services, DSS, hounded him, over a report which he wrote about the rift between the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, CoS, Abba Kyari.
Ogundipe wrote a detailed report, in which he exposed the simmering fight for control within Buhari’s inner circle.
He detailed how Monguno cautioned all the Service Chiefs against taking orders from Kyari, whom he (Monguno) accused in a memo addressed to Buhari, of interfering in National Security matters.
“You are reminded that the Chief of Staff to the President is not a presiding Head of Security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country”, Monguno had said in the leaked memo.
Two sources stated that Ogundipe has gone into hiding, since the DSS started asking him to provide the source of his information.
“His email and WhatsApp were hacked overnight, by the people suspected to be DSS, during the week”, one of the sources said, on Saturday.
“They even went to his house in Abuja, but he was not there.”
“We find it extremely disturbing that the Nigerian Government through the DSS, is moving to arrest Samuel Ogundipe, over the leaked NSA’s letter on Abba Kyari”, a civil rights organisation, EiE, said.
“This campaign to harass, intimidate, and silence Journalists, violates the core principles of democracy.”
The Managing Editor of Premium Times, Idris Akinbanjo, disclosed that he is aware that the DSS is looking to arrest Ogundipe, to identify the source of the memo which he cited in his report.
He, however, said that the Journalist has not been arrested.
“We know that the DSS are desperate to identify our source for the story, but we are reviewing the situation”, Akinbanjo said.
This is not the first time the Nigerian Security Agents will be harassing Ogundipe, to get the source of his reports.
Ogundipe spent three days in a Police cell, in August 2018, after publishing the details of a report sent to the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, by the former Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, on events that took place at the National Assembly, on August 7.
The Police stated that Ogundipe was arrested for being in possession of classified information, and demanded that he named his source.
Ogundipe, after his release, said that he was kept in a “fetid cage”, along with persons arrested for “violent crimes”.
“I spent three days in detention. But it was enough time for me to appreciate the precarious fate of journalism in Nigeria, despite nearly two decades of uninterrupted civil rule. I felt terrible to be incarcerated and isolated, and accused of crimes that were clearly unfounded”, he said in 2018.