DSS intimidates journalist Arogundade again, threatens to ban travels

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

Former President, National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANs) Mr Lanre Arogundade has again been harassed and intimidated by officials of the Directorate of State Services, (DSS).

Arogundade was the NANs President in 1986. More than 30 years after, the Nigerian secret security services are still on his neck.

His latest harassment on Tuesday at the Murtala International Airport, (MMA) was the second in less than two years.

The DSS claimed his name is on the watch list. This is some 38 years after Arogundade led students against tyranical military policies. In later years, he dedicated his life to the struggle against military rule which urchered in democracy in 1999 at great personal costs. It is ironic that the same democratic government, led even by some military apologists, continues to taunt him.

Arogundade since 1999 has been working judiciously to deepen democracy and promote good governance.

In a statement made available to Irohinoodua on Tuesday signed by Melody Akinjiyan, the International Press Centre, (IPC) strongly registered its displeasure over yet another incident of harassment of its Executive Director by officials of the State Security Service otherwise known as the DSS, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

IPC said the incident of Thursday occurred 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,” IPC said.

In his Facebook post, Arogundade said “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 said it holds that the persistent harassment violates Mr. Arogundade’s right to freedom of movement while undermining basic democratic principles.

IPC called 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.

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