SERAP Threatens Showdown Over Security Trailing Of Premium Times Journalists For Exposing Kyari, Monguno Rift
The suspected trailing of Premium Times’ journalist, Samuel Ogundipe and Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed by unidentified security personnel has continued to generate reactions from Nigerians.
According to the paper, the newsmen are being trailed for exposing the animosity between Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno.
But many Nigerians who reacted to the security trail described it as an attempt to stifle press freedom.
Civil rights group, Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Senator Shehu Sani weighed in on the matter in separate statements.
In a Sunday statement, the rights group threatened legal fireworks if the journalists are not left alone to do their jobs in peace.
“We condemn suspected security trail on @PremiumTimesng journalists Musikilu Mojeed and Samuel Ogundipe simply for doing their jobs.
“This appears aimed at intimidating and harassing the journalists. It’s putting the safety and security of the journalists at risk.
“Nigerians urgently demand answers from the Nigerian authorities. Who authorised this security trail and was it at the request of the Nigerian authorities?
“Nigerian authorities have a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of journalists to safety and security. The ongoing intimidation of journalists must stop. Mr Mojeed and Mr Ogundipe must be allowed to freely do their jobs without any intimidation and attack.
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“This kind of situation has a direct effect on the public’s ability to obtain important information about government activities, and on the ability of the media to serve as a check on government.
“We call on the Nigerian authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate the incidents and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible for harassment and intimidation of journalists Musikilu Mojeed and Samuel Ogundipe.
“Journalists are essential checks on government and partners in ensuring a healthy democratic debate; they must be allowed to freely do their jobs.
“We’ll take appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally if the Nigerian authorities fail to guarantee and ensure the protection, safety and security of Musikilu Mojeed and Samuel Ogundipe,” SERAP’s statement read.
Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th Senate, said that the security agency responsible for trailing the journalists should be ashamed of itself.
The pro-democracy activist said it was unfortunate that the agency was busy chasing innocent journalists around while kidnappers and terrorists continued to wreak havoc in the country.
“Leave Musikilu Mojeed and Samuel Ogundipe alone and redeploy your energy, intelligence, resources and professionalism in combating Banditry and Insurgency,” Sani wrote.