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NUJ, MURIC, others demand immediate release of Premium Times reporter

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC have asked the police to release Samuel Ogundipe, a Premium Times reporter, with immediate effect.

The police arrested Ogundipe on Tuesday over a report the organisation published on the sack of Lawal Daura, former director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Copies of the letter Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police, wrote to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the interrogation of Daura were obtained by the media.

The police had reportedly asked Ogundipe to disclose how he obtained the letter used for a story but the journalist declined in line with the ethics of the profession.

In a statement, NUJ lamented the frequent harassment of journalists by security agencies.

“The Nigeria Union of Journalists condemns in the strongest terms the arrest and detention of Premium Times Reporter, Samuel Ogundipe today by the police and his detention at the facility of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS in Abuja,” the statement read.

“Samuel Ogundipe was arrested for reporting on the report sent to the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris on the sacked and detained DG of SSS, Malam Lawal Daura.

“The NUJ is horrified by the constant harassment and molestation of journalists by the police and other agents of the state and requests that such should abate forthwith.

“It should be noted that confidentiality of sources is necessary for good journalism to flourish and journalists should not be coerced into revealing such sources.

“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Samuel Ogundipe and an end to all forms of impunity against the media.”

Also, MURIC, in a statement by its director, Ishaq Akintola, said “We strongly condemn any attempt to coerce journalists performing their legitimate duties. The police know the rules. The Fourth Estate of the Realm deserves a conducive atmosphere to carry out its daily routine of informing and educating the people about government’s activities.

“The impression must not be created that we are in a police state. A Gestapo-style intimidation of journalists stifles freedom of expression. The police can still carry out its duties in a professional manner without curtailing freedom of movement and without undermining freedom of speech. Democracy comes under threat when reporters work in an atmosphere of siege.

“We therefore demand the immediate release of Samuel Ogundipe and an apology for the manhandling of the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times.”

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JUST IN: FG suspends Nigeria Air indefinitely – Minister

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The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Wednesday, announced the suspension of the planned national carrier, Nigeria Air.

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I will contest Lagos governorship election – Jimi Agbaje

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The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 gubernatorial election in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, on Wednesday, September 19, finally announced that he has an ambition to lead the state on the platform of the same party in 2019.

There had been speculations on whether Agbaje, who narrowly missed the chance to govern the state in 2015, would still seek election.

Agbaje reportedly told journalists in Lagos that he would seek election in the state in 2019.

“It is true that initially I did not want to re-contest, but I had so many people urging me to run,” he said.

Agbaje, the 2015 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos state, on Monday, September 3, urged the party to conduct free, fair and credible convention to avoid rancor ahead of the 2019 elections.

A statement by Fidelis Soriwei, a spokesperson of Seriake Dickson, quoted Agbaje as having stated this when he paid a condolence visit to the state governor, Seriake Dickson, in his Toru Orua country home.

The visit was to condole the governor over the death of his mother, Goldcoast Dickson, who died of lung cancer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas, in the United States at the age of 72.

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Lagos APC members protest James Faleke’s re-election bid

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Some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ikeja Federal Constituency, Lagos State, on Monday staged a peaceful protest against the re-election bid of Rep. James Faleke.

Faleke, member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives is positioning himself for re-election in 2019 elections. He had in 2016 gone to contest the deputy governorship seat in Kogi, his state of origin.

The protesters, who chanted different solidarity songs against Faleke, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, said that he had not represented the constituency well.

They carried placards with inscriptions such as “Faleke, go back to Kogi, Ikeja say no to you”, “90 Shops in Kogi, Go back to your Kogi”.

Others read: “16 years of representing Ikeja with no constituency benefit”, “Dear Tinubu, the People of Ikeja, Ojodu, and Onigbongbo say no to Faleke” among others.

One of the leaders of the protesters, Solomon Johnson, said that there were so many capable and vibrant youths, men and women that could represent the constituency.

Johnson, a leader in Ikeja APC said that the protest was to tell the leadership of the party that the residents would not support the re-election of Faleke to the House of Representatives.

“He has been in power in the last 18 years and we feel he has done enough,” Johnson said.

According to him, since the lawmaker has gone to contest Kogi Deputy Governorship Election in 2016, the legislative seat should be given to another individual in the person of Mrs Toke Benson.

He urged Faleke to concentrate on strengthening APC in Kogi rather than seek re-election by transferring his voter register back to Lagos.

“It will be a slap on the people of Ikeja Federal Constituency if Faleke is forced on residents, we have able youths that can represent the constituency and we have found Mrs Toke Benson.

“Since the party is interested in promoting women participation, Toke Benson is qualified, she is a lawyer and well known. Enough of impunity. Give us Toke Benson and we will deliver Ikeja for APC,” Johnson said.

Another leader of the protesters, Hope James said, “The entire people of Ikeja want a change. The attention of Faleke has been in Kogi. Our people have not been benefiting from that office.”

James, one of the APC stalwarts from Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area, alleged that the lawmaker had not been representing the constituency well.

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