The DSS Arrests Foreigners for Photographing the Abuja High Court, Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial
The State Security Service apprehended two foreigners who were guests at Treasure Suites, a hotel across the street from the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, for photographing the court grounds from their hotel balcony.
“They even entered the hotel and got the manager to show them their CCTV footage so they could find one of the men and seize his phone,” a police officer at the scene told Peoples Gazette.
Another police officer told The Gazette that the Americans would not be tortured, but would instead be questioned and asked to delete the video footage.
“They will not do anything to them; they will only ask them to write statements and delete the footage they took,” the officer said on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid repercussions for making public comments.
According to one of the SSS officers stationed at the court’s entrance, only a select group of pro-government media outlets will be permitted access to the court today. While The Gazette and other media outlets deemed critical by the Buhari regime would be barred.
“No matter what you do, you are not permitted to enter this courtroom today,” the officer stated. He refused to give his name.
The SSS’s spokesman did not respond to The Gazette’s request for comment on the arrests.
A contentious list circulated on Sunday night that purportedly included ten media outlets accredited to cover today’s proceedings in Mr Kanu’s trial. The Gazette was not on the list and did not request inclusion. Under Nigerian law, all media organizations are permitted to cover court proceedings.
The case of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, who was abducted by Nigerian agents and repatriated to Nigeria from Kenya on June 29, has been adjourned until today.
The court has been heavily guided by SSS agents as part of an aggressive measure to deny lawyers, journalists, and other court observers access to the premises for the proceeding. The officers closed the two major roads leading to the federal courthouse.
The crackdown was stepped up after Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, urged supporters of the separatist leader to attend the trial without fear.
“It is important to note that anyone who wishes to come is not breaking any laws as long as they do so peacefully. Kanu’s trial is open, not secret, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty, according to Mr Ejimakor.
The SSS arrested three Israeli filmmakers while they were filming a documentary in Igbo-dominated Eastern Nigeria two weeks ago, accusing them of supporting Mr Kanu and IPOB. The foreigners remain imprisoned.