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  • News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: May 28, 2024

Concerns trail detention of ICIR ED, reporter by Nigerian police

 Concerns trail detention of ICIR ED, reporter by Nigerian p

The International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR has expressed concern over the continued detention of its Executive Director, Dayo Aiyetan, and Reporter, Nurudeen Akewushola, by the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre, NPF-NCC. 

This was contained in a statement by the centre on Tuesday.

According to the statement, despite their compliance with a police invitation, both individuals, along with their legal representatives, have been unreachable for over seven hours.

“The ICIR initially received letters of invitation from the NPF-NCC on May 15, 2024, requesting the presence of its reporter and directors at the Centre's Abuja offices on April 24. 

“However, discrepancies in the dates and the absence of detailed allegations prompted the ICIR to seek clarification from the police,” the statement reads in part.

Following the ICIR's response, the NPF-NCC issued a second set of letters dated May 20, 2024, adjusting the dates but failing to provide specific allegations against the centre and its reporter.

Despite the concerns, the ICIR staff and lawyers honoured the revised invitation today, May 28, 2024. However, they have since been held in custody, raising fears that the police may have ulterior motives despite labelling the invitation as a "fact-finding" endeavour.

Bamas Victoria, Editor at The ICIR, expressed concern, stating, "We are worried that this could be a ploy by the Police to detain them, despite the fact that the NPF-NCC stated in its letter that 'it is a fact-finding invitation.'”

Recall that the human rights lawyer Femi Falana had previously asserted that arresting journalists based on cyberstalking and criminal intimidation charges is unlawful, citing amendments to the Cybercrime Act made by the Nigerian parliament in February 2024.

The ICIR suspects the police invitation may be related to an investigation implicating former police officials in a questionable land deal. Notably, one of the former police bosses has announced taking the case to court, though the ICIR has not received formal notification.

The ICIR urged the authorities to ensure its staff's immediate release and conduct investigations in accordance with the law and due process.

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