Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, 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. 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.
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 leveled 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,”
“Both parties were subsequently referred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti where the case has been under investigation.”