Agents of Nigeria’s secret police on Sunday visited the home of the editor of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed, in their quest to pry information from one of the newspaper’s reporters.
The two agents, who visited Mojeed’s residence, arrived and left in a Toyota Camry car.
DSS is looking to extract the source of a secret memo first published by the newspaper. The memo was written by the national security adviser Babagana Monguno to service chiefs, warning them against taking orders from President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari.
Monguno copied Buhari, minister of interior Rauf Aregbesola and minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama.
“They visited his house this morning but his wife did not allow them in,” Premium Times’s managing editor Idris Akinbanjo told The Guardian on Sunday.
He said the editor’s wife Haulat Mojeed insisted she would not allow them in except if the husband, who is currently out of Nigeria, says so.
The DSS operatives, however, retreated when she alerted her neighbours to their presence.
Akinbanjo also said two unmarked pickup vans, suspected to be those of the secret police, are parked near Premium Times office in Abuja.
Premium Times’s Samuel Ogundipe, who broke the news about a rift between Monguno and Kyari, published the memo in his story.
He has since gone into hiding and his email and WhatsApp hacked into allegedly by the DSS. Akinbajo said the DSS has not officially written to them to demand the source of the memo.
In his report, Ogundipe detailed how Monguno cautioned all the service chiefs against taking orders from Kyari, whom he (Monguno) accused in a memo addressed to Buhari of interfering in security matters.
“You are reminded that the Chief of Staff to the President is not a presiding head of security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country,” Monguno said in the leaked memo.
A source close to the newspaper said what the DSS is doing “is nothing short of harassment.”
“We find it extremely disturbing that Nigerian Government through the DSS is moving to arrest Samuel Ogundipe over leaked NSA’s letter on Abba Kyari,” a civil rights organisation EiE said.
“This campaign to harass, intimidate and silence journalists violates the core principles of democracy.”