• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Journalist, Soyombo detained, released by police

Journalist, Soyombo detained, released by police

The police force headquarters, Abuja has released high-profile journalist, Fisayo Soyombo after an 8-hour detention on Monday.

He was detained after honouring an invitation based on an investigation being conducted by the force.

Soyombo, founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) on Monday around past 10 am announced his arrival at the headquarters via Twitter and Facebook, stating that his devices had been seized.

Soyombo was yet to give an update nine hours after posting.

The motif of his detainment is unclear yet as but an article on the FIJ site suggests that it is connected to a report exposing high-level police corruption done earlier.

According to FIJ, 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 November 29, 2021, by 1000hrs at 1st floor, Force Hqtrs, Abuja. Thanks.”

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“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,” FIJ said.

Back in August, FIJ had reported how, in his former role as Commissioner of Police in charge of Budget and Finance at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Joseph Egbunike, head of the police internal panel probing Abba Kyari’s indictment in a recent FBI report on fraud conspiracy, joined other police chiefs to approve more than N1 billion for sham police transit camps project in Benue, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina, and Kano states.

However, FIJ’s visit to the project locations revealed that nothing or little had been done, three years later.

On a visit to the over N245 million transit camp in Riyom, Plateau State, for instance, FIJ found two uncompleted bungalows and a few mobile buildings on an expanse of land, with our real estate expert who examined the project reporting: “Look at that building in the red roof, which happens to be a police station in the camp, with N9 million or N10 million, you can raise that building up to that level.”

FIJ understands that a group of lawyers petitioned Usman Alkali, the Inspector General of Police, over the story, asking for the “prosecution” of those behind it for defamation under the Penal Code.

The lawyers are led by one Stefan Onome Okorodudu and they claim to operate under a joint mandate as “Concerned Lawyers in defence of the Nigeria Police and its officers from the peddling and publication of falsehood”.

Meanwhile, the police have yet to offer any explanations on the use to which the transit camp funds were put, and why the structures in the five states do not represent anything close to the huge sums of money awarded for them.