Nigeria Police Headquarters detain investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo over story exposing high-level corruption in the force

‘Fisayo Soyombo, an investigative journalist and founder, Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), is currently being detained at the Force headquarters, Abuja, by the police.

Investigative journalist, Soyombo was first contacted on November 23 via an SMS by the Force headquarters while on a long trip.

The SMS 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.“

Fisayo honoured the police invitation on Monday, some days after returning from a long trip, knowing he committed no crime.

He discovered his invitation 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 had in August reported how Joseph Egbunike in his former role as Commissioner of Police in charge of Budget and Finance at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters who is currently 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 N1billion for sham police transit camps project in Benue, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Kano states.

A visit by the FIJ to the project locations showed that nothing or little had been done — three years later.

FIJ, for instance on a visit to over N245million transit camp in Riyom, Plateau State, 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 red roof, which happens to be a police station in the camp, with N9million or N10million, you can raise that building up to that level.”

According to FIJ, 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”.

The police is 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.

Fisayo Soyombo had earlier on Monday in a post on his Facebook page stated that he is honouring the Police invitation.

The journalist added that if by dusk of the day he is yet to give feedback, the implication is that he is being unjustly detained by the Police.

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