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Group flays DSS over alleged harassment of Premium Times journalists

By Igho Akeregha (Abuja Bureau Chief) and Eniola Daniel (Lagos)
03 March 2020   |   4:21 am
A group, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), has alleged the harassment of Premium Times editors and reporter by the Department of State Services (DSS).

A group, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), has alleged the harassment of Premium Times editors and reporter by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The group said that the Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, might have gone underground after the DSS launched a manhunt for him.

The home of the Editor-in-Chief, Muskilu Mojeed, was also reportedly besieged by operatives of the DSS, apparently to arrest him.

The DSS was allegedly irked by a leaked memo authored by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, who had earlier detailed how President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had been meddling and interfering with the entire security architecture, with very serious implications for the stability of the country.

A statement yesterday by Executive Director of CHRICED, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said 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 flayed the misuse of security institutions funded by tax-payers to intimidate citizens, especially journalists who are doing their legitimate duty by reporting the true state of governance to all citizens.

Through the patriotic, intrepid and courageous reporting by Samuel Ogundipe, the group said the whole country and the entire world got to know about the petty squabbles in the Presidency, and how the fight against the insurgency and other manifestations of insecurity had been weakened by the turf wars within the government.

“From the content of the leaked memo, it was also very clear that even in the face of the mindless slaughter of defenseless Nigerians by terrorists, bandits and other violent criminals, President Muhammadu Buhari continues to project weakness by abdicating his responsibility to his Chief of Staff who has been exercising power of the President by proxy rule.

“To say the least, it is shameful that the DSS as a key 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 truth remains that the Buhari regime has the duty 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 candour by alerting the nation about the wrangling, which undermined the nation’s ability to secure itself,” the statement said.

CHRICED, therefore, urged the DSS to immediately end the ongoing harassment and hounding of Premium Times editors and reporters and admonished the service to know that across the world, policy-makers and investors are closely watching to see if the Nigerian State is serious about its commitment to the rule of law.