Nigerian journalist and founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), Fisayo Soyombo, has been detained at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, by the police.
According to FIJ, Soyombo was on a long trip on November 23 when he received an SMS inviting him to the force headquarters.
The text had read, “Good Afternoon sir, this office is conducting an investigation in which your name and phone number featured, in view of this, you are to interview the Head, IGP Monitoring Unit on the 29th November 2021 by 1000hrs at 1st Floor, Force Hqtrs, Abuja. Thanks.”
The journalist reportedly honoured the police invitation on Monday, days after returning from the trip, but had discovered it was in connection to a story exposing the award of transit police camp projects that did not exist to the tune of the contract sums.
Some months ago, the FIJ reported how, in his former role as Commissioner of Police in charge of Budget and Finance at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Joseph Egbunike, head of the police internal panel probing Abba Kyari’s indictment in a recent FBI report on fraud conspiracy, joined other police chiefs to approve more than N1billion for sham police transit camps project in Benue, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Kano states.
Reporters visited the project locations only to discover that nothing or little had been done — three years later.
On a visit to the over N245million transit camp in Riyom, Plateau State, for instance, it was discovered that two uncompleted bungalows and a few mobile buildings on an expanse of land, with a real estate expert who examined the project reporting: “Look at that building in the red roof, which happens to be a police station in the camp, with N9million or N10million, you can raise that building up to that level.”
Thereafter, 11 lawyers loyal to Egbunike petitioned Usman Alkali, the Inspector General of Police, over the story, asking for the “prosecution” of those behind it for defamation under the Penal Code.
The 11 lawyers loyal to DIG Egbunike are led by one Stefan Onome Okorodudu and they claim to operate under a joint mandate as “Concerned Lawyers in defence of the Nigeria Police and its officers from the peddling and publication of falsehood.”
Meanwhile, the police are yet to offer any explanations on the use to which the transit camp funds were put, and why the structures in the five states did not represent anything close to the huge sums of money awarded for them.