Skip to main content

BREAKING: Nigerian Government Detains International Press Centre Boss, Lanre Arogundade At Lagos Airport, His Passport Deactivated

SaharaReporters learnt on Thursday that Arogundade is being detained at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State, after he was told he had no right to enter Nigeria.

The Nigerian government has detained Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of the International Press Centre.


SaharaReporters learnt on Thursday that Arogundade is being detained at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State, after he was told he had no right to enter Nigeria.


“He left Nigeria for Gambia on January 30, 2022, to train Gambian journalists on sensitive reporting with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and upon his return, they flagged his passport and may have deactivated it as they did to human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore,” a source revealed. 


Speaking on the arrest, Arogundade’s lawyer, Olumide Fusika, said, “I’m in touch with him. It’s seeming like that, like Sowore’s. His citizenship of Nigeria has been cancelled by the Department of State Services.”

Confirming the detention, Arogundade wrote on Facebook, “This is me at the DSS office at International Airport Lagos where I'm being held or detained against my wish. I have just returned from Banjul where I went to train Gambian journalists on Conflict sensitive journalism. Ever since the days of military rule I get molested by DSS and Immigration at the airport. This nonsense has to stop!”


Arogundade is one of the vocal voices against the Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government in the recent past, especially on the issues of the electoral bill and the Twitter ban.


His organisation and others had only weeks ago made a call on the National Assembly to prioritise the conclusion of the Electoral Bill during the legislators’ first sitting when it resumed from recess.


In Abuja at a news conference tagged: “Civil Society Statement on the need for the National Assembly to Act with Dispatch on the Electoral Bill on Resumption from Recess,” Arogundade and others such as Yiaga Africa, Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), The Albino Foundation, CLEEN Foundation, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), and Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), had made the call.


The Buhari regime is notorious for silencing critics and harassing anti-government voices.


Only on January 12, 2021, it was reported that the government deactivated the biometric identification of Sowore.


The documents deactivated included the activist’s national identity card, permanent voter card, passport and driver’s licence.


As a result of this, Sowore was not able to use any of the national documents to carry out any transaction within and outside the country as the cards could not be read biometrically.


President Buhari’s regime did not give any explanation for the move.


After public outcries and condemnation greeted the deactivation, the government was forced to reactivate the identity cards on February 1, 2022, as also confirmed by Sowore.


The latest attack on the activist by the Nigerian Government had come two days after SaharaReporters published an exclusive story revealing how a hacker had broken into the server of the National Identification Management Commission to steal the personal information of over three million citizens.


It also comes weeks after the government attempted to freeze Sowore’s bank account domiciled with Guaranty Trust Bank – a development officials of the financial institution confirmed.


Recall that the activist’s account had first been frozen in August 2019 by the Department of State Services, Nigeria’s secret police notorious for violating the rights of citizens, after the agency claimed he received huge funds from the United Arab Emirates to overthrow the Buhari regime.


The allegation was later dropped when the DSS realised Sowore had never been to the United Arab Emirates.