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Persistent harassment of Lanre Arogundade by state security constitutes systematic abuse of power and violation of his rights

For immediate release, Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The International Press Centre (IPC), hereby strongly registers its displeasure over yet another incident of harassment of its Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, by officials of the State Security Service otherwise known as the DSS, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

The incident of Thursday April 11, 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) would be the umpteenth of such unwelcome development.

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.”

Mr. Arogundade 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 holds that 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.

SGD:
Melody Akinjiyan
Press Freedom Officer, IPC
[email protected]

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