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UK Police Called to Arrest Journalist for Investigating Buhari’s Whereabouts

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Security personnel at the Abuja House in London yesterday, 19th of February, called in policemen to arrest a reporter of The Guardian who was on the premises to see President Muhammadu Buhari and possibly interview him, the Guardian reports.

A few minutes after The Guardian reporter arrived at the Abuja House, just after 1:00 p.m., wanting to speak to the high commissioner, the reporter was directed to go to the Embassy- Nigerian House at Northumberland Avenue. “Somebody should be there,” he was told.

Around 1:20 p.m., when a man and a teenage-looking girl wearing glasses pressed the buzzer, a security officer appeared to open the gate for the duo.

When asked:”Is that the daughter of the president?” – judging by her resemblance of the First Lady- the security officer replied: “I don’t know.” He then reiterated that the reporter should go to the office at Northumberland Avenue.

When the reporter told a member of staff at the Abuja House, the official residence of the Nigerian High commissioner to the United Kingdom, yesterday afternoon that he had come to see the president, he replied: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s not here.”

But around 1:40 p.m., when two guests arrived, the reporter shook hand with one of them and asked, “have you come to see Mr. President?” He replied cheerfully, saying “yes”, but he didn’t enter the compound. He left about 15 minutes later.

Another security officer came out shortly after and told the reporter to move away from the main gate. “Excuse me, you can’t just stand here,” he said.

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At 2:50 p.m., when a black Mercedes jeep arrived, the occupant sitting by the driver rolled down the glass and asked The Guardian reporter, “why are you here?”

“When I told him that l was a reporter with The Guardian and l had come to see if the president was there and to interview him, he looked quite irritated and replied angrily: ‘he’s not here, you can’t see anybody here.’ “

In an extraordinary move, two police officers, Constables Marlett and Stock, were called in by the security staff at the Abuja House to arrest the reporter.

When both arrived on their motorcycles, they took the reporter’s name, date of birth and subsequently made a check on the national database, before staying around for about 20 minutes and then left.

Prior to that, the security staff threatened the reporter with the police when he called at the Kensington residence to interview President Buhari about his continued stay in the UK.

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was also at Abuja House; a strong indication that Buhari may actually be there. At 5:13 p.m., Saraki emerged from the house in a black suit, accompanied by a male aide.

“Hello, Senate president, hello Senate president,” The Guardian reporter said to him from outside the gate, before he entered an official car and was driven away.

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