Coalition Condemns Harassment Of Gov Adeleke’s Media Aides


Apr 25, 2024

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Good Governance has expressed concern over the harassment of media aides of Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, by the State Security Service (SSS) in Abuja.

The coalition in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Comrade Olalekan Johnson, said it is unlawful for the SSS to force journalists to falsely implicate others.

Johnson said it is unprofessional for SSS to harass the journalists including the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mallam Rasheed Olawale.

He said: “It has come to our attention that this egregious harassment is being coordinated by the Director of Operations of the SSS, raising serious questions about the agency’s impartiality and commitment to upholding democratic principles.

“For clarity, we are very much aware of the disposition of the Director General of the organisation, Mallam Yusuf Magaji Bichi to professionalism and impartiality within the service and the actions of the Director of Operations, clearly contradict what Mallam Bichi’s leadership represents.

“The focus of the SSS investigation, as we have learned, is to coerce a journalist into disclosing the source of a story, a blatant violation of journalistic ethics and an illegal act in itself.

“Furthermore, the SSS is attempting to force the journalist to falsely implicate others as the source of the story, resorting to obtaining false confessions under duress, an action that not only undermines the rule of law but also tramples upon fundamental human rights.

“It is evident that the subject matter under scrutiny is inherently political, as Governor Ademola Adeleke’s direct political opponent, former governor Gboyega Oyetola, is allegedly behind the SSS harassment.

“This raises serious concerns about the impartiality of the SSS, which should operate free from political interference. By acting as a political tool of a particular politician against his opponent, the SSS is betraying its mandate and eroding public trust in the agency.

“We remind the SSS that the matter is already before the Federal High Court in Osogbo, Osun State, rendering any further action by the agency as sub judice.”

According to the coalition, by proceeding with its invitations and harassment of Governor Adeleke’s media aides, the SSS is not only disregarding the principle of judicial independence but also committing contempt of court, an affront to the rule of law.

The coalition noted that the ultimate goal of the SSS’s actions appears to be to muzzle the press, as evidenced by the inhumane treatment inflicted upon the publisher of the said story.

“We reiterate that if any story is deemed offensive, the proper recourse for the affected party is to pursue legal action for libel or defamation, not to resort to intimidation and harassment.

“We call upon the Director of Operations at SSS headquarters to cease his involvement in this politically motivated investigation, as his actions tarnish the reputation and integrity of the agency.

“The Director-General of the SSS, who is known for upholding professionalism and non-partisanship, must intervene and hold accountable those within the agency who are undermining the rights of the media and free speech.

“The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations stands firm in condemning any attempts to stifle press freedom and undermine democratic values.

“We urge all stakeholders, including the SSS, to uphold the principles of justice, fairness, and accountability in all their actions,” it said.

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