Nigerian online newspaper, Premium Times has said that security operatives are trailing some of its reporters.
The newspaper said the ‘hunt’ is coming on the back of a report on the “rift” between Babagana Monguno, national security adviser (NSA), and Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Pointing to its proofs in some documents, the newspaper had reported that Monguno accused Kyari of “undue and dangerous interference on matters bordering on national security”.
The NSA was said to have issued a warning memo to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Kyari.
Premium Times said days after the story was published, the internet identity and domain of Samuel Ogundipe (pictured), the journalist who filed the story, were “subjected to a relentless hacking attacks while he has been receiving calls from strange numbers to confirm his identity”.
The newspaper said early on Sunday, two men suspected to be officials of the Department of State Services (DSS), attempted to invade the home of Musikilu Mojeed, its Editor-in-Chief, claiming they came around to drop a message for him.
The two men, both dark in complexion, one tall and clad in a dark suit, the other of average height wore a t-shirt, rode in a 2008 Toyota Camry car, Haulat Mojeed, wife of the editor said,” the report read.
The men who were not dressed in uniforms, Mrs Mojeed recalled, asked that she let them in claiming they had a parcel to deliver for her husband whom they were was not around, as they rightly revealed to her.
Mrs Mojeed was said to have told them she wanted to fetch her phone, call her husband, and ask if he was expecting any parcel, but they reportedly left before she did so.
The report by the Premium Times notes that shortly after the encounter at Mojeed’s house, another set of security operatives in a pair arrived at Ogundipe’s residence
They were said to have parked at the roadside, looking directly into his apartment through the fence, and “after apparently noticing no activity, they drove off”.
Premium Times in its response said; “In an age of widespread kidnapping it adds no value to the image of security officials to play by the protocols of nefarious actors in the community, visiting the homes of citizens and making up stories about dropping messages for them or threatening them through anonymous calls.
“If the security forces want any of our staff, we would be happy to present them in a way that will ensure clear accountability.”
The newspaper revealed that its attorneys have been contacted “to take up the matter from here.”
Denying Premium Times’ claims, Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesman, said there is no operation targeted at Premium Times.
Afunanya said if there is any need for the service to discharge its duties, it would do so in accordance with the laid down procedures.
“The report that the DSS is laying siege on Premium Times and has hacked the phones of one of its staff is false in its entirety. It is unfounded and just a needless sensationalism,” he said.
“There is no such operation at the moment by the Service targeted at the Premium Times, its editor or staff. If there is any need for the DSS to discharge its duty, it sure have to do that with every sense of decency and in accordance with laid down procedures.
“Now the service is not anywhere near the news agency. Therefore, the report should be disregarded.”