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‘He Has A Case To Answer,’ Police Justify Arrest Of FIJ Reporter Ojukwu

Ojukwu, who spent 10 days in police custody, was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s Cybercrime Act, often criticized as a tool for censorship.


A photo combo of Adejobi and Ojukwu

 

The Nigeria Police Force has insisted that the arrest of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) reporter, Mr Daniel Ojukwu, is in strict compliance with legal protocols and procedures.

Ojukwu, who spent 10 days in police custody, was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s Cybercrime Act, often criticized as a tool for censorship.

The journalist’s arrest and subsequent transfer to the Nigerian capital of Abuja followed his report about alleged financial mismanagement of over N147 million ($104,600) involving a senior government official, according to his employer.

His arrest was followed by calls from his colleagues, civil society organisations, and others, which resulted in his release on Friday.

READ ALSO:  Journalist Daniel Ojukwu Freed After 10 Days In Detention

In a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, on Friday, the police maintained that Mr. Ojukwu was “lawfully apprehended and detained pursuant to a valid remand warrant issued by a competent court of justice on May 2nd, 2024.”

The Force PRO said that allegations against Ojukwu stem from a report concerning financial transactions and contract execution upon which he was petitioned for investigations.

The statement read in full: “The Nigeria Police Force hereby addresses recent developments regarding the arrest and investigation of Mr. Daniel Ojukwu, reiterating that much contrary to speculative reports, Mr. Ojukwu’s investigation is in strict compliance with legal protocols and procedures. Mr. Ojukwu was lawfully apprehended and detained pursuant to a valid remand warrant issued by a competent court of justice on May 2nd, 2024. His initial detention in Lagos and subsequent transfer to Abuja by the FCID-National Cybercrime Centre (NCCC) aligns with standard investigative procedures undertaken by police.

“The detention of Mr. Ojukwu is linked to allegations of violating provisions of the Cybercrime Act, and other extant laws pertaining to cyber-related crimes. These allegations stem from a report concerning financial transactions and contract execution upon which he was petitioned to the Nigeria Police for investigations. With our preliminary forensic investigation, and recovery of some contents generated by the suspect, Mr. Ojukwu has a case to answer and as such will be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of investigations.

“In the same vein, the Police did not deny Mr. Ojukwu bail, as it was predicated on him meeting the conditions set for the bail. He has however been released upon providing a reliable surety today Friday 10th May, 2024, pending the commencement of prosecution at the Federal High Court which has jurisdiction over cyber related crimes. It is instructive to note that his release has no correlation with the unwarranted protest held at the Police Headquarters on 9th May, 2024, but strictly due to him meeting the bail requirements and the policy of the Force on being rule of law compliant.

“The Nigeria Police Force remains steadfast in its duty to maintain law and order, uphold justice, and safeguard the rights of all citizens. We urge the public and media outlets to refrain from speculations and undue media trial in order to avoid jeopardizing the legal procedures in the case.”