Police release the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, faults arrest

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Omoyele Sowore

Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, has been released from police custody.

He was arrested in Ikeja on Wednesday afternoon, and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Panti.

Lekan Fatodu, a journalist, had facilitated Sowore’s arrest over alleged criminal defamation and blackmail.

A source told TheCable that the publisher of the whistleblowing website was released late Wednesday, but told to return to the station by 2pm on Thursday.

Sowore had earlier accused the police of taking sides with Fatodu, whom he said assaulted him.

“I was physically attacked today by a gang led by Lekan Fatodu… he assaulted me before police officers at Area “F” in Ikeja in Lagos,” he had said.

Omoyele Sowore

“After the police intervened soon as I was attacked by Lekan Fatodu and his friends in Lagos, we were taken to the CP’s office in Lagos.

“Turns out he was in on this, he pulled out a supposed petition written by Lekan from his hat after that he became very hostile towards me and ordered that we be driven to State CID, at Panti in Lagos.

“It is very obvious that this was planned between Lekan Fatodu and the police. They offered him unbridled support as he continued attacking me.”

But Dolapo Badmos, spokeswoman of the Lagos police command, denied the allegation, saying the police intervened in a dispute between both men.

“Today, 11/1/2017 at about  15:39hrs, a distress call was received by the Lagos State Police Command that Mr Omoyele Sowore – Publisher of Sahara Reporters was being attacked by suspected hoodlums around Isaac John street, GRA, Ikeja,” she said in a statement.

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“The police swiftly responded, and upon arrival at the scene contrary to the report that a robbery attack was taking place, the police met  the duo of Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr Lekan Fatodu engaged in a brawl/altercation.

“With a view to ascertaining what led to the false alarm of a robbery, both parties were taken before the commissioner of police.”

Badmos said it was later discovered that Fatodu had written a petition against Sowore.

She said the police had commenced investigation into the allegation levelled against the influential online publisher.

“In the course of police intervention, it was found out that the brawl is in connection with an earlier complaint of alleged threat to life, defamation of character and blackmail made by Lekan against Omoyele,” she said.

“Both parties were subsequently referred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti where the case has been under investigation.”

However, Omoyele has told his own story of the arrest and says he was physically attacked today by a Gang led by Lekan Fatodu. He also shared a video of Lekan assaulting him before police officers at Area “F” in Ikeja in Lagos.

Omoyele wrote:

I was physically attacked today by a Gang led by Lekan Fatodu this part of a VIDEO of him assaulting me before police officers at Area “F” in Ikeja in Lagos.

After the police “intervened” soon as I was attacked by Lekan Fatodu and his friends in Lagos we were taken to the CP’s office in Lagos. Turns out he was in on this, he pulled out a supposed petition written by Lekan from his hat after that he became very hostile towards me and ordered that we be driven to State CID, at Panti in Lagos. It is very obvious that this was planned between Lekan Fatodu and the police. They offered him unbridled support as he continued attacking me in the presence of the police. I could have been I am familiar with this style of the Nigerian police. We are now being driven to Panti in Yaba res of Lagos.

Few minutes ago, he shared this:

Folks, I am finally back. However, I’ll be back at the SCID at Panti, Yaba tomorrow at 2PM-familiar territory, the Lagos police commissioner Fatai Owodunmi was part of the plot. He claimed to have a petition written against SaharaReporters two days ago for “criminal defamation.” He was rude and hostile when I asked him why a civil petition was taking priority over a criminal assault. When I was leaving Panti, they asked me to sign a bail bond to ensure my release, I refused to sign, asking them what my offense was, the DCP at Panti asked the investigating officer, and he said there was no crime recorded against me. They let me go as Inibehe Effiong, my pro-Bono lawyer, followed me to ask why a bail bond was necessary if there was no offense stated.