Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Monday revealed that the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote is behind Sunday’s arrest of publisher of tracknews.ng, Bara Ogidi by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Operatives of the Service numbering about 15 had invaded the residence of the journalist and whisked him away in the presence of his wife and children to an unknown destination.
Timi Frank who condemned the Gestapo-styled abduction, said the action of the DSS is believed to be in connection with Ogidi’s consistent reportage of an alleged controversial libel suit involving the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, and the publisher of Pointblank news, Mr. Jackson Ude, presently being heard in the United States of America (U.S.A).
Frank who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, in a statement in Abuja, said it has been confirmed that Wabote ordered the arrest of the journalist using his office to compromise the DSS.
He urged the DSS to urgently release Ogidi, who was merely carrying out his legitimate duty by reporting proceedings of the said case for the benefit of the reading public.
He insisted that such Gestapo-styled abductions are reminiscent of military juntas and should never be condoned in a democratic setting.
He urged the Director General of DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, to steer the Service away from being used by political office holders to harass, intimidate and victimize innocent journalists for exercising their constitutional rights.
He called on Nigerians to hold Wabote and the DSS responsible should any harm befall Ogidi in custody.
He noted that the wife and children of Ogidi have fallen under severe trauma over the action of the operatives against their husband and father respectively, and insisted that nothing short of unconditional and immediate release of the detained journalist would assuage their pains.
Frank said: “This is not a DSS matter. Let them make his offense or charges. We understand that Ogidi’s abduction by the DSS and plans to export him to Abuja is meant to blackmail him in order to implicate innocent Nigerians under duress.
“Why arrest a journalist because a politician was not pleased with a report?. Every Nigerian who feels he has been unduly misrepresented has a right of reply in the media or in the alternative to seek legal redress in a court of competent jurisdiction.
He called on the National Human Rights Commission and the International Press Institute to intervene to ensure that Ogidi is not detained longer than necessary or for him to be arraigned in court to enable him to seek bail.