It’s a day of victory for Nigerian Journalism as the Premium Times Journalist who was arrested three days ago, has been released on bail.
Mr. Ogundipe, was granted bail on Friday by Magistrate Abdulwahab Mohammed of the Kubwa Grade 1 Magistrate Court in Kubwa, Abuja three days after he was arrested by the police.
Premium Times had earlier reported that the same Judge who granted Ogundipe bail today was the same Judge who had allowed the police to bring the Premium Times reporter to a secret trial without a legal representation.
In that secret trial, the Magistrate, Mohammed Abdulwahab, had granted police request to keep the Premium Times reporter for five days without trial.
“On that day, Mr. Mohammed granted a request by the police that the journalist be detained for five days until August 20. However, on Friday morning, Premium Times learnt Mr. Ogundipe was to be taken to the same court. The company’s lawyer was thus present at the court.” Premium Times reported.
During Friday’s proceedings however, the Premium Times legal representative argued successfully for the bail of the journalist without opposition from the police counsel.
The judge then went ahead to grant the journalist bail in the sum of N500,000 with a surety who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court.
Mr. Ogundipe was subsequently released when the bail conditions were met.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS had arrested and detained the Premium Times reporter on Tuesday following a publication by the Newspaper showing the embarrassing report presented to the Vice President by the IGP regarding the National Assembly siege.
The Police had alleged that Mr. Ogundipe was in illegal possession of the document and the story he published was capable of bringing down the country.
They allegedly tried to force the Premium Times reporter to divulge his source of information on the incriminating document in direct contravention of the Freedom Of Information Act which prevents the police from compelling a journalist to expose his source of information.
The arrest of the journalist was condemned both within and outside the country by individuals and organisations, including the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ and Amnesty International.