Following an invitation from the Police Force National Cybercrime Centre, the Executive Director and a reporter from the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) are still in custody as of last night.


In a statement released Tuesday night, ICIR expressed concern over the ongoing detention of its Executive Director, Dayo Aiyetan, and Reporter, Nurudeen Akewushola. They had visited the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCC) on Tuesday in response to an official invitation.

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The statement read: “Aiyetan and Akewushola, accompanied by company lawyers, went to the Centre at noon on May 28, 2024, and have been unreachable, including the lawyers.”

ICIR suspects that the Centre might be planning to detain both Aiyetan and Akewushola. Earlier on May 15, 2024, ICIR received letters of invitation for Akewushola and the “Managing Directors” from the NPF-NCC. The letters, dated April 16, 2024, were delivered on May 15, 2024.

The police letters, signed by Commissioner of Police Uche Ifeanyi Henry, requested their appearance in Abuja on April 24. The letters indicated an investigation into cyberstalking and defamation of character.

ICIR raised concerns about discrepancies in the invitation and delivery dates and the lack of details regarding the allegations. They requested more information to prepare adequately for the police interview. The NPF-NCC then sent a second set of letters dated May 20, 2024, but still did not provide details of the allegations.

In response to the second invitation, ICIR staff and lawyers went to the NPF-NCC as requested on May 28, 2024, at noon, and have been in custody for over seven hours.

ICIR expressed worry that the police might detain them despite the NPF-NCC stating it was a fact-finding invitation. Victoria Bamas, the ICIR Editor, said, “We are worried that this could be a ploy by the Police to detain them.”

Following the initial invitation, Nigerian human rights lawyer Femi Falana noted that arresting journalists based on cyberstalking and criminal intimidation charges is unlawful since the Cybercrime Act was amended in February 2024.

International Centre for Investigative Reporting believes the police invitation might be related to an investigation involving former police officials in a land deal. One of these officials mentioned taking the case to court, but the International Centre for Investigative Reporting has not been formally notified.