On November 1, 2017, men of the State Security Service (SSS) prevented Basil Abia, a reporter with ‘Next Editions’ newspaper, from covering the trial of a terror suspect, Charles Okah, at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Just before the cross-examination of Charles Okah, the alleged mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bombing, began an SSS operative who may have been monitoring the reporter stood up and ordered him to leave the courtroom.
Outside the courtroom, Basil was interrogated by the SSS operative who asked him what he was doing in Court.
Basil recounted: “He took me aside and asked what I was doing in the courtroom and I told him I was covering the case for The NEXT EDITION newspaper, not satisfied, he asked me to produce my identity card and I did and he insisted that I was not authorized to cover the case. He told me that he had been monitoring me throughout the resumed trial”.
The SSS operative reportedly threatened to take the reporter to the “Yellow House” if he remained in the Court premises, this was after the reporter challenged him to tell him why he was singled out and thrown out of the courtroom.
After the interrogation, Basil was taken to the media room within the court premises apparently to be identified by some officials, he was nonetheless not allowed to get back to the courtroom to continue covering the trial of Mr. Okah.