By Muhammad Bashir Shuaib

The Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) has reportedly arrested Dayo Aiyetan, the executive director of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and Nurudeen Akewushola, a reporter. According to the invitation letter sent by the police cybercrime centre, the journalists are being investigated for cyberstalking and defamation of character.

Aiyetan, Akewushola, and ICIR lawyers responded to the invitation by visiting the NPF-NCCC office in Abuja. However, they have not been released since their visit. The ICIR expressed concerns that this may be a tactic by the police to unlawfully detain the journalists.

The invitation is believed to be connected to a report published by the ICIR in February 2024. The report exposed corruption allegations involving two former inspector-generals of police (IGPs), senior officers, and the Nigeria Police Mortgage Bank. The names of Ibrahim Idris and Solomon Arase, former IGPs, were mentioned in the report for their alleged involvement in a bribery scandal worth N400 million.

The Police Service Commission (PSC) spokesperson, Ikechukwu Ani, confirmed that Arase had taken legal action against the ICIR over the report, claiming it was an attempt to defame him. However, the ICIR stated that they have not received official notification of the court processes.

The unfolding situation has raised concerns about press freedom and the ability of journalists to carry out their duties without fear of retaliation or intimidation.