Operatives of the Nigerian Police Force on Friday invaded the Abuja office of Peoples Gazette newspaper and arrested one of its editors and four other staff members.
A total of five armed police officers were said to have carried out the operations at the newspaper’s office opposite NNPC Quarters in Utako.
The arrested assistant managing editor, John Adenekan was said to have been taken away at about 12:35 pm while the officers returned to the office to arrest four other staff members, Ameedat Adeyemi, Grace Oke, Sammy Ogbu, and Justina Tayani.
Reports said the officers declined to state the reason for the arrest, but demanded to see Managing Editor, Samuel Ogundipe and a reporter, Adefemola Akintade, who were not available during the operation, thereby perpetuating an unconstitutional tradition of arresting associates in the event that people of interest are unavailable.
Mr Adenekan was said to have been taken to the Utako police division following the raid.
The Gazette has faced several attacks since its inception in September 2020, including the restriction of access to its website in January 2021 and the invasion of the same head office in January 2022 by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
A source within the Police, however, told The Trumpet, that the arrest of the Gazette’s Editor and five of its staff members has to do with a story that the news platform reported a few days ago.
Gazette broke a report that the Department of State Service (DSS) gave an intelligence report to the President, Muhammadu Buhari that Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress will destabilise the country.
According to the report, a document got to the president through the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), recommending that Bola Ahmed Tinubu should consider the security implications of his selection, Kashim Shettima, before making it public.
Gazette an intelligence officer had informed its reporter that “The SSS produced the report and handed a copy to the NSA.
“The NSA looked at the report and added it for security briefing to the president.
“Simply put, our understanding is that the alliance will destabilise Nigeria and embolden attacks on Christian citizens from their fellow Muslim citizens.
“The distrust Christians are likely to harbour against a presidency occupied by two Muslims won’t make our work easy at the national security level.”
However, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a terse statement responding to newsmen, said no such document existed, thereby tagging the report as laughably puerile.
“We wish to advise well-meaning Nigerians to ignore a laughably puerile report by an apparently pirate online newspaper seeking to sow division and chaos on the choice of Governor Kashim Shettima as the Running Mate of our Party’s Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“This so-called newspaper is like a deadly virus. Stay safe by keeping away from its toxic reports,” the presidential spokesperson said.
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