Police free detained journalist, Soyombo

December 14, 2021
6 Views

Detained founder of Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), Mr Fisayo Soyombo, has been released on bail by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

Soyombo was freed yesterday evening after he spent several hours at the Force Headquarters, Abuja

The journalist confirmed his release when he said: “I am out.”

He will, however, return to the Force Headquarters on January 13, 2022.

Soyombo said, “Special thanks to my colleagues at FIJ Nigeria, lawyers, ex-bosses, the media houses who published stories, and everyone who tweeted, ‘Facebooked’, texted and made phone calls to press for my release from detention. I am out.

“Journalists, activists, lawyers and everyone else working in the public interest should not have to deal with a distraction like this, but none of us must give up on the Nigerian dream,” he said.

He had gone to the Force Headquarters to honour a police invitation in connection with a story on the deputy inspector-general of police (IGP), Joseph Egbunike.

FIJ had in August published a report wherein it alleged that Egbunike along with other police chiefs approved over N1 billion for some police transit camp projects in Benue, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Kano States.

The report indicated that after a visit to the project locations by FIJ, there was nothing to show for the huge amount three years after.

Earlier yesterday, FIJ had in a statement signed by Damilola Ayeni alerted Nigerians that the journalist was detained by the police.

Ayeni said, “Fisayo Soyombo, founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is currently being detained at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, by the police.

“Soyombo was on a long trip on November 23 when he received an SMS that read: ‘Good Afternoon sir, this office is conducting an investigation in which your name and phone number featured, in view of this, you are to interview the head, IGP Monitoring Unit on the 29th November, 2021 by 1000hrs at 1st Floor, Force Hqtrs, Abuja. Thanks.’

“Knowing he committed no offence, he honoured the police invitation on Monday, days after returning from the trip, only to discover it was in connection to a story exposing the award of transit police camp projects that do not exist to the tune of the contract sums.”

Soyombo had earlier on Monday posted on social media that: “I have just arrived at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, to honour an invitation from the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector General of Police. They say my ‘name and phone number featured in an investigation’ they are conducting.

“The decision to come was straightforward: I am a law-abiding citizen who has committed no crime unless journalism is one. If there is no update on this handle by dusk, it means I have been unjustly detained. I will be surrendering my devices now…”

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