After three days in detention, reprieve finally came for Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, as he was granted bail on Friday by Magistrate Abdulwahab Mohammed of Kubwa Grade 1 Magistrate Court in Kubwa, Abuja. At the court, Ogundipe’s lawyer argued for his bail, a request that was not opposed by police counsel. The Magistrate granted
After three days in detention, reprieve finally came for Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, as he was granted bail on Friday by Magistrate Abdulwahab Mohammed of Kubwa Grade 1 Magistrate Court in Kubwa, Abuja.
At the court, Ogundipe’s lawyer argued for his bail, a request that was not opposed by police counsel. The Magistrate granted the bail in the sum of N500,000 and a surety who must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction. The bail conditions were met and Ogundipe was released.
The judge first heard the case on Wednesday after Ogundipe was secretly arraigned without being allowed legal representation by the police.
On that day, the judge granted a request by the police that the journalist be detained for five days until August 20. But, due to heightening local and international pressure, Ogundipe was again taken to court yesterday.
The Police at a secret court appearance on Wednesday, had accused Ogundipe of criminal trespass and stealing police documents, his news organisation said Thursday.
Samuel Ogundipe, a journalist with the independent online newspaper Premium Times, has been in custody since his arrest on Tuesday after reporting on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) report on the siege to the parliament last week by masked officials of Department of State Security Service (DSS).
Premium Times said Ogundipe was brought before a magistrate’s court in Kubwa, Abuja on Wednesday without the knowledge of his lawyers.
“They brought me to a magistrate court in Kubwa where they arraigned me. The magistrate said they should detain me for five days,” Ogundipe was quoted as telling his editor on the phone.
“They accused me of criminal trespass. They said I stole secret documents. The magistrate does not know the details, because they did not include in the charge that I am a journalist. I was not allowed to contact my lawyers,” he said.
“They also did not allow me to call anyone until the magistrate ordered them to let me make one call,” he added.
Police Spokesman, Moshood Jimoh confirmed the arraignment to AFP. Two other colleagues arrested with Ogundipe on Tuesday were released after questioning.
Premium Times said Ogundipe was being held for publishing a report sent to Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo by the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, on events that took place at the National Assembly on August 7.
Masked armed operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) blocked access to the Senate and House of Representatives, preventing lawmakers, workers, journalists and other visitors from entering.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Amnesty International (AI), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), local and international rights bodies were at the head of strident calls for Ogundipe’s immediate release.