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Concerns mount as ICIR’s executive director and reporter remain detained by NPF-NCC

The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has expressed serious concern regarding the prolonged detention of its Executive Director, Dayo Aiyetan, and reporter, Nurudeen Akewushola, by the Nigerian Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCC).

It was gathered that Aiyetan and Akewushola, accompanied by the company’s lawyers, had gone to the Centre since noon today, May 28, 2024, and they have been unreachable, including the lawyers.

A statement made available via email to The Informant247 on Tuesday disclosed that Aiyetan and Akewushola were acting in their professional capacity when they responded to the police invitation.

It would be recalled that earlier on May 15, 2024, the ICIR received letters of invitation addressed to one of its reporters, Akewushola, and another to its “Managing Directors” by the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre.

The letters, dated April 16, 2024, were delivered at the ICIR’s office on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

However, curiously, the Police in the letter, signed by a Commissioner of Police, Uche Ifeanyi Henry, the Centre’s Director, requested that the reporter and directors appear at its Abuja offices on Wednesday, April 24.

Part of the letter reads, “The Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre is investigating a case of cyberstalking and defamation of character in which the above-named person featured prominently.

In view of the above, you are requested to interview the Director of the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) at Plot 625 Mission Road, Diplomatic Zone, Central Business District, Abuja through CSP Omaka Udodinma Chukwu on Wednesday 24th April 2024. Call 08067854241 on your arrival.

“Your cooperation in this regard will be highly appreciated, please.”

In its response to the first invitation, The ICIR raised some concerns to the police, including the disparity in invitation and delivery dates, and the lack of details of the petition which led to their investigations for cyberstalking and defamation of character. The ICIR requested that details of the petition should be provided so that it could adequately prepare for the police interview.

Following the ICIR’s reply, the NPF-NCC sent another set of invitation letters.

In a second set of letters from the NPF-NCCC to The ICIR dated May 20, 2024, two copies of which were addressed separately to the reporter and the “managing director,” the discrepancy in the dates was adjusted but details of the allegations against the centre and its reporter were not provided.

The ICIR was, however, able to gather that there is likely a sinister move by the Centre to detain both Aiyetan and Akewushola.

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