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SSS Removes Lanre Arogundade’s Name From Watchlist After 38 Years

SSS Removes Lanre Arogundade’s Name From Watchlist After 38 Years

The State Security Services has removed the name of media activist, Lanre Arogundade, from its watchlist.

The Director General of the Service, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, disclosed this when a delegation from the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria) visited him in Abuja.

Arogundade who is the director of the Lagos-based International Press Centre (IPC) was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport after arriving from Banjul, where he went to train Gambian journalists on Conflict sensitive journalism.

During the visit which was in line with IPI high-level engagements on the safety of journalists and press freedom in Nigeria, Bichi revealed that the journalist was put on the list during his days as the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), between 1984 and 1985.

“We don’t intercept people willfully at airports. We do so based on requests from other government agencies who may have issues with the persons affected,” the SSS boss said.

The President of IPI Nigeria, Musikilu Mojeed, who led the delegation lamented the rising incidents of violation of the rights of journalists while performing their constitutional duties of upholding the people’s right to know and holding governments, individuals and corporations accountable.

He said all oppressive and repressive policies and actions directed at the media must be resisted so as not to allow authoritarianism, poor governance and corruption to thrive in Nigeria.

“As we all know, Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution is clear in compelling “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media to, at all times, be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.

“Such (aggrieved) individuals should be advised to seek redress in court instead of coming to the SSS (to complain),” Mojeed added.

He appealed to the SSS DG to educate and prevail on officers and men of the Service all over the country to desist from harassing journalists even as the 2021 World Press Freedom Index ranked Nigeria 120 out of 180 countries, indicating a drastic drop as compared to 9 years ago.

Responding to the issues about violation of the rights of journalists raised by the IPI Nigeria delegation, the SSS boss emphasised the need for close collaboration between the media and the Service to address many of the ‘misconceptions,’ nothing that “our mission is peace.”

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