ICIR Journalist, Nurudeen Akewushola
ICIR Journalist, Nurudeen Akewushola
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The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has kicked against an invitation by the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) over alleged cyberstalking and defamation of character.

ICIR Journalist, Nurudeen Akewushola
ICIR Journalist, Nurudeen Akewushola

 

In a statement on Thursday, the ICIR said the police invited Nurudeen Akewushola, a journalist, and the managing director of the organisation for an interview over “cyberstalking and defamation of character” claims.

The media organisation said the invitation letter, dated April 16, 2024, was delivered to its office on May 15—three weeks later.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s cybercrime reforms leave journalists at risk – Report

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The ICIR highlighted the irregularities in the invitation, noting that the date for the interview, which was April 24, had already passed.

The organisation added that the invitation lacks details about the alleged crime, hindering its ability to prepare a proper defence.

“The Police did not provide any details of the petition leading to its investigation on “cyberstalking and defamation of character,” which would have enabled the centre and its reporter to prepare for an interview,” the statement reads.

“The invitation was received by the ICIR on Wednesday, May 15, whereas the reporter and directors were expected to have reported to the centre on April 24, several weeks before the invitation was received.

“The ICIR is also concerned about the invitation because of an emerging trend of harassment and crackdown on journalists in Nigeria by the nation’s security apparatus using the Cyber Crimes Act, a legislation that has been amended to make it impossible for it to be misused in harassing the media and civic actors, as has been done in the past.

“In the past weeks, at least two journalists went missing from their homes, only to be discovered later that they were arrested by the nation’s security agencies for cyberstalking.

“The ICIR is also concerned about the invitation because it has reasonable cause to believe it is related to an investigative report done by Nurudeen Akewushola, the reporter who has been invited to the Cybercrime Centre, and recently published by the ICIR.

“The report indicted two former Inspectors General of Police of corruption. One of the two former IGPs threatened the ICIR with a lawsuit and was rebuffed.

“We believe that the same person is now using the Police, which should be interested in holding him to account based on our reporting, to harass our reporter.

“As a law-abiding organisation that holds power to account, we are always willing to submit to accountability and would honour lawful invitations from law enforcement agencies but we have written to the Police to provide details of the petition against the ICIR and its reporter and write a new invitation letter before we honour the invitation.”


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