The police in Lagos, Nigeria have arrested Mr. Omoyele Sowore, publisher of online Sahara Reporters. According to a Jan 11 report by Nigeria’s PREMIUM TIMES at www.premiumtimesng.com, the police were called to the scene of an altercation in the Ikeja area of Lagos between Mr. Sowore and a Mr. Lekan Fatodu publisher of a United Kingdom based magazine CheckOut. The Premium Times reports that both Mr. Sowore, Mr. Fatodu and others involved in the incident were taken to Area “F” Nigerian Police Command Headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos.
Police spokesperson Dolapo Badmus said that Lagos State Commissioner of Police Mr. Fatai Owoseni ordered the transferred of Mr. Sowore to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti, Yaba, Lagos pending further investigations on the strength of a petition filed against Mr. Sowore by Mr. Fatodu. Mr. Fatodu's petition leveled allegations of criminal defamation, blackmail and threat to life against Mr. Sowore.
According to Premium Times, “Mr. Sowore said he believed Mr. Fatodu’s attack against him was “strictly because of the report and other numerous investigations of Sahara Reporters against him and his benefactors.”
It is not yet clear if others involved in the altercation have been released. However, a few hours ago, Mr. Fotodu tweeted: “BREAKING! I just got Sowore Omoyele of Saharareporters arrested for criminal defamation and blackmail and threat to my life and career.” Links to CheckOut Magazine on Mr. Fotudu''s Facebook profile returned a dns error.
Mr. Sowore founded Sahara Reporters in 2006 to promote citizen journalism and to report on stories about corruption, human rights abuses and other political misconduct in Nigeria.
We’ll continue to monitor the story.