According to a report by Daily Trust, the Department of State Service (DSS) has removed a journalist, Lanre Arogundade, from a watch list in which his name featured for 38 years, the Director-General of the Service, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, has said.
He spoke yesterday when a delegation from the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria) visited him in Abuja, as part of the organisation’s ongoing high-level engagements on the safety of journalists and press freedom in Nigeria.
Arogundade, director of the Lagos-based International Press Centre, was on February 10 intercepted and detained by officers of the SSS upon his arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, from Banjul, The Gambia, where he went to train journalists on conflict reporting.
Speaking on the circumstances leading to the interception of the journalist on his arrival in Lagos, Bichi said the Service acted based on a decades-long watch list, which demanded that Arogundade be quizzed whenever he returned from a foreign country.
He said the journalist was put on the list during his days as president of the National Association of Nigerian Students between 1984 and 1985 while he was student at the Obafemi Awolowo University.
Bichi said after Arogundade was initially removed, there arose another case of mistaken identity triggered by a request by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
He spoke on Arogundade’s case after the IPI Nigeria delegation condemned the journalist’s treatment by the secret service while also raising other cases of harassment of media professionals by the agency.
Earlier, the President of IPI Nigeria, Musikilu Mojeed, 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.