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Refrain From Violating The Rights Of Arogundade – IPC Tells DSS

By Sani Yarima 

The International Press Centre (IPC) has expressed its grave concern over yet another incident of harassment of its esteemed Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, by officials of the State Security Service (DSS). 

The incident took place on Thursday, April 11, 2024, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, as Mr. Arogundade was preparing to board a late-night Air France Flight to Berlin, Germany to participate in the general meetings and conferences of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).

This incident is one of many instances of Mr. Arogundade’s unwarranted harassment by the DSS.

Mr. Arogundade is a highly respected journalist, advocate for social justice and democracy, former Chairman of the Lagos State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, and former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students. 

IPC believes that Mr. Arogundade’s roles and accomplishments should not serve as justification for the undue harassment he has received from the DSS.

According to Mr. Arogundade’s account of the encounter, DSS officials harassed him for nearly 40 minutes, alleging that his name was still on their watchlist despite a declaration made two years prior by the Director-General of the State Security Service, Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi, that Mr. Arogundade’s name had been removed when he met with a delegation of the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI) led by Musikilu Mojeed. 

Mr. Arogundade further reported that the senior DSS official to whom he was referred threatened to prevent him from traveling unless he produced his old passports, which he deemed as a “bizarre and ridiculous” request.

IPC holds that the persistent harassment violates Mr. Arogundade’s right to freedom of movement and undermines basic democratic principles. 

Therefore, IPC calls on the Director-General of the DSS, and in particular, his personnel at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, to refrain from further harassing Mr. Arogundade.

In conclusion, IPC finds the incident involving Mr. Arogundade’s harassment by the DSS to be highly regrettable. 

SAHEL REPORTERS hope that the DSS, being a critical agency in the maintenance of national security, will uphold the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians, including journalists and media practitioners who play a critical role in promoting democracy and good governance, by treating them with the utmost respect and dignity they deserve

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