…As allege threat of arrest emerges over undercover investigations
By David O Royal
Nigerians are currently trending the hashtag #keepfisayosafe on twitter, praying for the safety and protection of an Investigative Journalist, Fisayo Soyombo whose undercover stories exposed the depth of corruption in Nigerian police cells and prison.
Fisayo Soyombo, a former editor of TheCable and a contributor to Al Jazeera, in his undercover story, detailed how Nigerian policemen “pervert the course of justice in their quest for ill-gotten money”.
Soyombo, during his investigation, went undercover with an alias Ojo Olajumoke. He spent days at a cell at Pedro Police Station, Shomolu, Lagos. He also went to the Ikoyi prison where he spent eight days.
His reports contained audio, pictorial and video evidence of corruption in the Nigerian judicial system.
It is learnt that Soyombo, scheduled to speak at a workshop on fake news organised by Goethe Institute on Tuesday evening and is to be arrested at the venue of the event and due to the alleged arrest threat, he pulled out of the event.
Reports have it that the arrest threat is based under Section 29 of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act.
Subsection 1 (d) of the Act states that a person is deemed to have committed an offence if he “procures or facilitates the procurement of communication devices for an inmate or makes conversation or aids the making of conversation through a mobile phone or other devices to an inmate other than as provided in the Correctional Standing Orders and other related correctional policies.”
However, Nigerians have questioned why a journalist who exposed corrupt practices in Nigerian prisons should be arrested for doing what he did.
They, therefore, called on the government to keep Fisayo Soyombo safe and give media the freedom to operate.
See posts from twitter users below
Nigeria needs to stop her constant muzzling of the press! YOU CAN NOT SILENCE THE MEDIA!
We ask that our journalists go above and beyond to cover the news, and when they do they’re targeted and victimised!
It is our collective DUTY to #KeepFisayoSafe
— Kiki Mordi (@kikimordi) October 22, 2019
The Criminal Justice System is rotten. This is no news to Nigerians and the authorities themselves and the reaction to findings of investigative journalists as well as advocates of reforms must never be belligerent. The Nigeria Correctional Service must get this! #KeepFisayoSafe
— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) October 22, 2019
Someone goes undercover, exposes a rot, and the next logical reaction is to find him and teach him a lesson. Is this how to go forward? @fisayosoyombo should not be hiding for his life but is now having to because of credible threats. #journalismisnotacrime #keepFisayosafe
— Lolade Nwanze (@LoladeSowoolu) October 22, 2019
You cannot claim to fight corruption, yet turn around to witchhunt a journalist who went undercover (at risk to his own life) to expose the biggest corruption racket within your own law enforcement agency. It shows your corruption fight is nothing but a fraud! #keepfisayosafe
— Ayò Bánkólé (@AyoBankole) October 22, 2019
According to information received, the personal safety of the investigative journalist, @fisayosoyombo may be under threat.
We urge the @NigeriaGov to guarantee his safety.#PressFreedom#KeepFisayoSafe#CashAnCarry pic.twitter.com/QeQC3gMaZD
— EiE Nigeria (@EiENigeria) October 22, 2019
Paying ₦10,000 ($28) to delete a prisoner’s record, because he has plans to run for political office, is not a crime.
— Chxta (@Chxta) October 22, 2019
I’ve know @fisayosoyombo for more than a decade. And this is the life he chose: One of bravery, justice, and truth. @ProfOsinbajo, you’ve called on journalists to do investigations and fight fake news, ‘Fisayo did just that. Should arrest be his reward? #keepfisayosafe pic.twitter.com/W9UUng44R0
— Mayowa Tijani (@OluwamayowaTJ) October 22, 2019