The Department of State Services has launched a manhunt for Samuel Ogundipe, an investigative journalist with an online newspaper, Premium Times, over a report on the rift between Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.
SaharaReporters gathered that the service was angry at the report, which exposed a memo written by Monguno accusing Kyari of undue interference on matters bordering on national security.
The journalist has since gone into hiding following threats from operatives of the agency, who already laid siege to his house.
In the leaked memo obtained by the journalist, Monguno issued a warning to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Kyari.
In a post on Twitter, former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, revealed plans by the secret police to arrest the journalist with a view to forcing him to disclose his source.
For reporting the rift between @NGRPresident Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari & NSA,cGen. Monguno, #Nigeriaâs State Security are after investigative journalist, @SamuelOgundipe, who’s bn forced into hiding.#LeaveSamOgundipeAlone#JournalismIsNotACrime
— Chidi Odinkalu (@ChidiOdinkalu) February 29, 2020
Also, human rights activist and Convener, Enough Is Enough, Yemi Adamolekun in a tweet said, “We find it extremely disturbing that @NigeriaGov through the DSS is moving to arrest Samuel Ogundipe over leaked NSA’s letter on Abba Kyari.
We find it extremely disturbing that @NigeriaGov through the DSS is moving to arrest Samuel Ogundipe over leaked NSA’s letter on Abba Kyari.
This campaign to harass, intimidate and silence journalists violates the core principles of democracy. pic.twitter.com/Ks1LY2HDzi
— EiE Nigeria (@EiENigeria) February 29, 2020
Confirming the development, a senior member of Premium Times, Idris Akinbajo, said they were aware of the plan by the service but explained that the service had not formally invited the journalist for interrogation or questioning.
He added that Ogundipe would honour an invitation by the DSS whenever called upon to report at any of their facilities.