An editor of Premium Times, Ibanga Isine, was arrested yesterday, Tuesday 6thOctober, 2015, by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) in the premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja, while covering the court’s proceedings. He was set free late last night.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this arrest. It was unnecessary, uncalled for and a sheer flexing of muscles by men of the SSS.
MURIC reminds the SSS that journalists have duties to perform in the same way that security operatives have works to do. Neither should stand in the other’s way because their jobs complement each other. The SSS and other security agencies should therefore see the press as friends and not as enemies. The general public will not appreciate the diligence and sacrifice of security agents unless the media gives it the necessary publicity.
The Federal Government should therefore call the SSS to order. This single incident is capable of damaging the relationship between the press and the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. We warn that the freedom of the press must be jealously ensured if the democratic profile of this administration is to remain credible both within and outside Nigeria.
Harassing members of the First Estate of the Realm is a sure way of digging the grave for any sitting government. We therefore urge the SSS to check the excesses of their overzealous staff. Every SSS operative should be re-engineered to respect civil rights and observe decorum while on duty.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
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