On Monday, the Department of State Services (DSS) confiscated a phone belonging to Mr Gbenga Olamikan, a Vanguard Photojournalist, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Following Olamikan’s attempt to capture photographs of the 12 detained allies of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, who were brought to court in accordance with the judge’s order, DSS operatives confiscated the phone.
According to reports, Nigeria’s secret police had been asked to produce the detainees in court on two occasions by Justice Obiora Egwuatu.
On July 23, the court directed the DSS to produce the detainees on July 29 and show cause why they should not be freed on bail under Section 32 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 and other applicable statutes.
After counsel for the applicants, Pelumi Olajengbesi, submitted an ex-parte motion designated FHC/ABJ/CS/647/2021 on July 7 and filed on July 8, the judge issued the ruling.
Over detained Igboho’s aides, DSS officers confiscate a Vanguard photojournalist’s phone.
This, according to Egwuatu, would allow the court to investigate the circumstances that led to their arrest and incarceration.
The judge, who granted the applicants’ request based on an affidavit of urgency filed on why the case should be heard as soon as possible despite the upcoming court holiday, adjourned the case until July 29.
The DSS, on the other hand, failed to appear in court on the rescheduled day.
Egwuatu, who expressed concern about the security outfit’s continued contempt for court orders, ordered the 12 applicants to appear in court today.
However, when the detainees were transported to the courthouse by bus, photojournalists and cameramen from several media outlets positioned themselves to capture them.
A mufti officer approached the Vanguard photographer and took his phone from him.
Before releasing the phone to the photographer, the DSS operatives held it for about 40 minutes.
After Olamikan’s coworkers interfered, the situation was resolved.
The DSS reportedly prohibited journalists from photographing or filming the detainees.