Premium Times Services Ltd , owners and publishers of Premium Times online publication, has said that statements by the Nigeria Police on the arrest of one of his reporters, Mr Samuel Ogundipe, were misleading and prejudicial.
The spokesman of police, DCP Jimoh Moshood, had said in a statement that Ogundipe was being investigated and prosecuted for theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified document.
Ogundipe was arrested on August 14 for alleged publication of the Inspector-General of police interim report on the blockade of the National Assembly gates by operatives of the DSS.
But a statement by Legal Adviser and Counsel to the Premium Times, Jiti Ogunye on Thursday in Abuja, said that Ogundipe did not commit any offence under the Nigerian law.
“May we state that contrary to the misleading and prejudicial statements and assertions of ACP Jimoh, Mr. Samuel Ogundipe has not committed any offence known to law,”he said.
Ogunye said that there was no law in the country that compelled a journalist to disclose the source of information for a published story like the police were insisting.
He said that Moshood deliberately misstated the position of the law which is the Nigerian law and not that of the Nigerian police.
The counsel added that because the police could not compel Ogundipe to disclose his source, it has resorted to blackmail.
“Our client sure has a solid defence to this charge , and need not , at this stage, engage in needless argument with the Police .
“However it suffices to categorically state that the burden of proof in a criminal action lies on the prosecution,”he said.
He called on the the Federal Government, in particular the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to intervene and save Ogundipe.
“The Presidency cannot look on while the police is operating like a colonial power without any regard to the due process of law, the rule of law and respects for the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of journalists,”he said.