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IPC condemns DSS persistent harassment of Arogundade



By Palang Kasmi

The International Press Centre (IPC), has expressed displeasure over yet another incident of harassment of its Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.

The harassment was perpetrated by officials of the State Security Service, the DSS, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

According to a statement signed by IPC’s Press Freedom Officer,

Melody Akinjiyan recently,  the incident took place as he was preparing to board a flight enroute France to Berlin.

The statement explained that “The incident of Thursday April 11, happened while, Mr. Arogundade prepared to board a late-night Air France Flight to Berlin, Germany to participate in the respective general meetings, and conferences of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).

“This would be the umpteenth such unwelcome development is happening”, it noted.

The statement stressed that: “Mr. Arogundade is a renowned journalist, advocate for social justice and democracy, former Chairman of the Lagos State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists and former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students. We believe these roles and positions should not warrant his unending torment by the DSS.”

Mr. Arogundade recounted the encounter in a Facebook post: “I was harassed by DSS officials for about 40 minutes because they claimed my name was still flashing on their watchlist, despite the declaration two years ago by the Director General of the State Security Service, Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi, that my name had been removed, when he met a delegation of the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI) led by Musikilu Mojeed.”

The statement said Mr. Arogundade had additionally informed IPC management that the senior DSS official to whom he was referred,  threatened to bar him from traveling unless he produced his old passports, describing the request as ‘bizarre and ridiculous.’

IPC therefore, in the statement, said the persistent harassment violates Mr. Arogundade’s right to freedom of movement, while undermining basic democratic principles.

“IPC hereby calls on the Director General of the DSS, and in particular, his men and officers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, to desist from further harassing Mr. Arogundade”, the IPC advised.

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