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Fisayo Soyombo

Investigative journalist detained over story on high-level police corruption released

The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered the detention of investigative journalist, ‘Fisayo Soyombo, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

It was learnt that Soyombo, the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, was detained on Monday when he honoured a police invitation.

It was gathered that Soyombo’s detention was in connection with an investigative story published by his medium in August 2021 alleging that a Deputy Inspector General of Police, Joseph Egbunike, joined other police chiefs to approve more than N1bn for some police transit camp projects in Benue, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Kano states.

However, Soyombo’s FIJ reported that after a visit to the project locations nothing or little had been done — three years later.

The news platform said Egbunike was in his former role as Commissioner of Police in charge of Budget and Finance at the Force Headquarters when the approval for the sham projects was given.

Egbunike, now a DIG, headed the police internal panel that probed suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, who was recently indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his alleged involvement in a $1.1m Internet scam said to have been carried out by an Instagram influencer, Abbas Ramon, popularly known as Hushpuppi and four others.

It was further gathered that Egbunike raised some lawyers who petitioned the IGP to prosecute the journalist for alleged defamation.

The IGP thereafter invited Soyombo to the Force headquarters in Abuja.

Upon his arrival at the Force Headquarters on Monday morning, the journalist, in a Facebook post, wrote, “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…”

Calls to Soyombo’s line were unreachable all through his detention for about eight hours.

Also, efforts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, proved abortive as he disconnected the telephone line when our correspondent introduced himself as a PUNCH reporter on Monday.

The Force spokesman also did not reply to a text message seeking his comments on Soyombo’s detention as of the time of filing this report.

Copyright PUNCH.

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