By Dapo Akinrefon & Bartholomew Maduke
LAGOS — LAWYER and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, has told the Department of State Security, DSS, that the detained Abuja Bureau Chief of the Daily Independent Newspaper, Tony Ezimakor cannot be forced to disclose his source of information saying Ezimakor is constitutionally entitled to “remain silent.”
Also, a rights activist, Mr Femi Aborisade called on the DSS to release Ezimakor or charge him to court.
Recall that Mr Ezimakor was arrested last week by the State Security Service for publishing a story on the alleged payment of $2 million to the Boko Haram terrorists for the release of some of the abducted Chibok girls.
Falana, in a statement, said Ezimakor’s harassment “is a sad reminder of the case of Messrs Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor who tried, convicted and were jailed by the Buhari/Idiagbon junta in 1984 over their refusal to disclose their source of information pertaining to a story published in The Guardian newspaper.”
The statement reads: “Apparently embarrassed by the publication Mr. Ezimakor has been held incommunicado by the State Security Service. As a condition for his release from the illegal custody of the State Security Service, Mr. Ezimakor has been asked to disclose his source of information.”
“Regrettably, the State Security Service is yet to appreciate that a journalist cannot be forced to disclose his source of information under the current democratic dispensation.
“It is high time the attention of the State Security Service was drawn to Section 35 (2) of the Constitution which provides that “any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his own choice.”