Police release Peoples Gazette reporters

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The release of some correspondents and staff members of an online newspaper, Peoples Gazette, from police custody has been confirmed, according to details reaching AF24NEWS.

They were arrested Friday noon by officers of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja in connection to a story which was published by the news medium linking a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai (retd.), to some property that were seized by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission in suspicion of money laundering.

In a telephone interview with The Punch, Friday evening, the publisher of Peoples Gazette, Samuel Ogundipe, confirmed that the arrested journalists and other staff members were released unconditionally around 6 pm.

Ogundipe said, “I can confirm that our reporters and other staff members that were arrested earlier by the police have been released unconditionally. However, the police had just informed us that they came for me as the Managing Editor, and a reporter Adefemola Akintade, who wrote a report on a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.).

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“Unfortunately, rather than going to court, Buratai decided to intimidate our reporters and staff members by sending policemen to our head office. Now they claimed that there’s a petition against the newspaper accusing it of defaming the character of Buratai. But the truth is that, if Buratai feels that his character was defamed, he should go to court rather than resort to the use of state forces to intimidate our journalists and staff members,” he added.

READ ALSO: Why we raided Peoples Gazette – Police

When newsmen reached out to the Federal Capital Territory Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Josephine Adeh, the police spokesperson also confirmed that the arrested journalists and staff members of Peoples Gazette had been released.

DSP Adeh said, “A petition was written against the duo of Samuel Ogundipe and Adefemola Akintade for criminal defamation, injurious falsehood publication of news known to be false, and cyber stalking, contrary to section 391, 392, 393, 395 and 418 of the Penal code and section 24(1) cybercrime (prohibition prevention etc) Act, 2015.

“In investigating this case, a duly signed warrant of arrest was obtained and presented to effect the arrest of the duo. Their statements have been taken and they have been granted bail, while investigation continues.”

Mr Ogundipe, however, confirmed to our correspondent that neither he nor Ms Akintade were arrested as he was currently out of the country.

He said, “It is not true that Akintade and I were arrested. I am currently out of the country, and Akintade was not at the office when the police raided our facility and took five of our staff members which include two correspondents, an editor, and two adminnistraive staff members to their station. However, those that were arrested have been released tonight.”