Following the raid on PREMIUM TIMES head office in Abuja and arrest of Publisher, Dapo Oorunyomi, Oak TV in an exclusive examined the circumstances behind this operation.
The Nigerian police had on Thursday evening raided the media outfit’s head office in Abuja, arresting the publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu.
In an exclusive interview with Oak TV at about 11 p.m. that came immediately after being granted bail, Dapo Olorunyomi cited a publication back in December 2016 against Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff as the reason for his arrest.
“Last year in December we had written a story which was sourced from a petition that a civil society organisation in Lagos wrote to the Code of Conduct Bureau. In the petition, the organisation sort explanation why the chief of army staff given the grave allegations around him which bothered on some form of corruption – why he wasn’t being investigated.
“The code of conduct replied that basically, the chief of army staff was busy prosecuting a war and they would rather not interfere with that assignment but that once he was through with the assignment, they would like to call him in regarding the petition – and that’s all we wrote!
“And then of course the army was upset, describing it as a libel … The kind of things that people in power try to do always; and they demanded apology which we weren’t going to offer!
“So today, based on an irresponsible petition, they came and ransacked and arrested Evelyn – our judicial correspondent and myself.
“We got a bail tonight and we are to report 8:00am tomorrow morning,” Mr. Olorunyomi, said.
The paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, in an assertive manner, condemned the raid.
“They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate PREMIUM TIMES,” said Mr. Mojeed. “They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people who have a right to know.”
He said the paper will continue “to discharge its responsibilities in line with global best practices, social responsibility and patriotism, even at great risk to our personal liberties”.