My Ordeal In Hands Of DSS – Lanre Arogundade

My Ordeal In Hands Of DSS – Lanre Arogundade

Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of the International Press Institute based in Lagos and former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, who was arrested by officials of the Department of State Services on Thursday and later released, has recounted his ordeal in the hands of the state security officials.

Arogundade was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport after arriving from Banjul, where he went to train some Gambian journalists on Conflict sensitive journalism.

He made the recallation in an interview with The Punch, credited to Sodiq Oyeleke

Part of the interview runs thus:

Can you share your experience?

The story started when I was traveling. As required, I presented my passport for stamping by Immigration but the DSS official who normally collects it first asked me to go and see another person. I asked ‘why’? One of them said I am a comrade, that this kind of thing could happen…

When I returned, the DSS official asked me to step aside and follow him. When I followed him, he took me to a senior Immigration officer, who started asking me questions again in front of another computer.

I then asked him to check the information on the system since he’s holding my passport. After that, the DSS official asked me to follow him to their office. I asked if he knew the implication – You are arresting me.

When I got to their office, he handed over the passport to an Assistant Director. He then discussed with him. I was annoyed, an altercation ensued and I said I kept getting disturbed. I asked if I am always harassed because of my profile. While that was going on, I took a selfie and posted it on Facebook to let people know where I was. Before then, I called my lawyer and some journalists to let them know that I was undergoing the ordeal.

After that, I took the photograph of the office and another official took the phone from me angrily and said I was doing ‘illegal filming’. I challenged the officer to tell me what section of the constitution makes that illegal.

We argued over that for some time. By that time, my wife and other people started calling to know where I was. So, The President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mustapha Isa,  called. The DSS official spoke at length with him. He said it was a mistaken identity, apologised, and said they would let me go.

He stamped my passport and I collected my luggage.

How long did the ordeal last?

The ordeal took place for one hour 30 minutes.

Were you rough-handled?

I was not handled roughly but the whole experience was harassment. I felt molested. I really felt uncomfortable…”

Source: The Punch