Fisayo Soyombo, a Nigerian journalist and founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), has been detained at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, by the police.
According to information gathered, Soyombo was on a long trip on November 23 when he received an SMS inviting him to the force headquarters in Abuja.
The text had read, “Good Afternoon sir, this office is conducting an investigation in which your name and phone number featured, given this, you are to interview the Head, IGP Monitoring Unit on the 29th November 2021 by 1000hrs at 1st Floor, Force Hqtrs, Abuja. Thanks”.
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According to the Punch the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, ordered the detention of investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
It was also gathered that Soyombo’s detention was in connection with an investigative story published by his medium, Foundation for Investigative Journalism in August 2021 alleging that Joseph Egbunike, a Deputy Inspector General of Police, joined other police chiefs to authorize more than N1bn for some police transit camp projects in Benue, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Kano states.
In their report, Soyombo’s FIJ said 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 projects was given.
Now a DIG, Egbunike, headed the police internal panel that probed suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, who was recently prosecuted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his alleged involvement in a $1.1m Internet scam said to have been carried out by Abbas Ramon an Instagram influencer, 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.
Earlier in a Facebook post, the FIJ founder 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…”
As gathered, Calls put through to the ine of the journalist were unreachable.
Punch stated that efforts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, on Monday were not successful as he disconnected the telephone line when a reporter introduced himself.
The Force spokesman also did not reply to a text message seeking his comments on Soyombo’s detention at press time.