Is it possible that the invitation and detention of three Premium Times journalists by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police had been planned for one full year? Very hard to imagine but also very hard to dismiss.
On Tuesday, SARS operatives sent a letter to Premium Times’ Adebimpe Adedigba, asking her to report to the SARS Premises, Old Abattoir Way, Ahmadu Bello Way, Guzape, Abuja, to be interviewed over a case of “criminal conspiracy, cybercrime, attempted kidnapping and fraudulent act” being investigated.
The letter said Adedigba’s name and phone number “featured” in the case.
Adedigba was detained for three hours, after which she was made to call Samuel Ogundipe — the original target — to report to the station. Musikilu Mojeed, the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, was also briefly detained and manhandled.
Ogundipe has been in SARS detention since he turned himself in, and his salary account has already been frozen as part of efforts to further frustrate him to disclose the source of his report on the investigation of former DSS DG Lawal Daura by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris.
But SaharaReporters has obtained a copy of SARS’s letter to Premium Times, and it appears there is more than meets the eye.
While Adedigba received the letter on Monday August 13, 2018, the letter itself — as can be seen on the top right corner — was dated August 16, 2017! Strangely, the stamp appended on the lower edge of the letter was accompanied by a handwritten date: August 13, 2018.
If the top right date had read August 13, 2018 as well, it may have been safe to assume 2017 was a typographical error, but an August 2018 date — that is correcting the assumed typographical error by replacing 2017 with 2018 — would also mean Thursday, two days from now. In this case, it would mean SARS wrote the letter ‘in the future’!