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FIJ reporter spends third night in police detention

A journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Daniel Ojukwu, has reportedly been taken into custody by the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of Police.

According to his employers, the FIJ, he is currently being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti in Lagos, on offences of alleged cybercrime.

FIJ reported that Ojukwu went missing on Wednesday, May 1, with his phone numbers turned off, leaving his whereabouts unknown to colleagues, family, and friends.

Despite initial efforts by FIJ to file a missing person report at police stations in the area where Ojukwu was last seen, his location remained undisclosed.

However, a breakthrough came when a private detective hired by FIJ managed to trace the last active location of Ojukwu’s phones to an address in Isheri Olofin.

This location is believed to be where the police initially picked up his phone.

Subsequently, Ojukwu’s family learnt of his detention at Panti, where he was reportedly being accused of violating the 2015 Cybercrime Act.

However, attempts to obtain contact details for the Investigating Police Officer, according to FIJ, have been unsuccessful, with authorities citing jurisdictional issues as the case extends beyond Lagos.

According to a relative who visited him, the arresting officers belong to the IG Monitoring Team and indicated that once they finish arresting other individuals on their watch list in Lagos, Ojukwu and others will be transferred to Abuja.

Ojukwu has been held incommunicado for three days, with no access to legal representation.

The timing of Ojukwu’s abduction coincides with World Press Freedom Day, a day designated by the United Nations to underscore the importance of press freedom and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

In a disturbing pattern, this is not the first time FIJ has faced harassment from the police.

Earlier in March, Bukky Shonibare, FIJ’s Board of Trustees chairman, was grilled at the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre in Abuja regarding FIJ’s reporting on financial mismanagement.

The police have yet to provide a clear explanation for Ojukwu’s abduction.

However, recent events suggest ongoing persecution of FIJ by law enforcement, with unsubstantiated allegations being leveled against the organization and its founder, ‘Fisayo Soyombo.

Despite assurances that Soyombo was not declared wanted, the police have indicated their intent to invite him for questioning.

Despite requests for a formal invitation, FIJ said it had not received any communication from the police.


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