12 January 2017

Nigeria: Why Police Arrested Saharareporters' Publisher in Lagos

Publisher of SaharaReporters, an online news agency based in New York city, United States of America, Mr Omoyele Sowore, was yesterday arrested by the Police in Lagos ,over allegation of threat to life and blackmail on a London based journalist, Lekan Fatodu.

Fatodu in a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Mr Fatai Owoseni, accused Sowore of publishing a story on alleged money laundering against him.

In the said publication, Fatodu was alleged to be assisting Nigerian politicians to move money out of the country.

In a post on his Facebook page yesterday, Fatodu, wrote; "I just got Sowore Omoyele of Saharareporters arrested for criminal defamation and blackmail and threat to my life and career.

"Sowore lied against me that I was used as a front to receive N1.7 billion of the National Security Ádviser's funds. My refusal to agree to Sowore's demands and cut from the fictitious money made him to viciously attack my personality on his website.

"And imagine this is someone I've known and I've been assisting for almost 20 years. We are still at the police station, and hopefully we be going to the court tomorrow."

As at 7pm, Sowore was still been interrogated by policemen at the Area 'F' command Ikeja.

Police sources hinted that a distress call was received that robbers were operating on Isaac John street, Ikeja. However on getting to the scene, Sowore and Fatodu were found engaged in a verbal confrontation.

According to a source; "One of them accused the other of threat on his life, blackmail and defamation of character. We did not know who they were until we reached the station. At the station, Fatodu stated that he had written a petition to the CP on the matter."

Vanguard gathered that Sowore was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau ,SCIID, Yaba for further investigation.

But Omoyele Sowore on his facebook page said; "After the police "intervened" soon as I was attacked by Lekan Fatodu and his friends in Lagos, we were taken to the CP's office.

"It turned out that the CP was in on this, he pulled out a supposed petition written by Lekan from his hat after that he became very hostile towards me and ordered that we be driven to State CID, at Panti.

"It is obvious that this was planned between Lekan Fatodu and the police. They offered him unbridled support as he continued attacking me in the presence of the police. We are now being driven to Panti in Yaba area of Lagos."

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos confirmed the arrest . She could however not state when Sowore would be released.

She said: "I confirm his arrest. He was arrested this evening (yesterday) over threat to life on Lekan Fatodu and blackmail. He is still under investigation."

But SaharaReporters on its twitter handle @SaharaReporters said that he has been released "Omoyele Sowore has been released from police detention... more details to follow."

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