Investigative Journalist Goes into Hiding following Threat of Arrest 

Fisayo Soyombo
Fisayo Soyombo

Mr. Fisayo Soyombo, an investigative journalist, went into hiding in October following threats by Nigerian police and prison authorities to arrest and charge him with espionage over his series of undercover investigative reports which exposed corruption in Nigerian police cells and prisons.

Fisayo’s reports, published by the online portal, The Cable, contain audio, pictorial and video evidence of corruption in the Nigerian judicial system.

Soyombo went undercover spending five days in a police cell at the Pedro Police Station to reveal how policemen there extorted money from suspects and their families, including framing residents for offences they did not commit.

He also spent eight days in Ikoyi prison, where he unearthed and exposed the drug abuse, sodomy, bribery and pimping that go on in the prison.

The former editor of The Cable and a contributor to Al Jazeera was scheduled to speak at a workshop organised by Goethe Institute on fake news on October 22, 2019 BUT had to pull out of the event for fear of being arrested at the venue because according to an unnamed source, “Prisons authorities are very angry and have decided to get the journalist arrested.”

The unnamed source said “He is to be charged to court and prosecuted under Section 29 of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act.”

Section 29 (1) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act says: “A person commits an offence if he:

“(b) communicates or attempts to communicate with an inmate without permission of the Superintendent;

“(c) procures or facilitates the procurement of communication devices for an inmate or makes conversation or aids the making of conversation through mobile phone and other devices to an inmate other than as provided in the Correctional Standing Orders and other related correctional policies.”

Both Fisayo and a friend of his have confirmed that he been forced to vacate his residence which rent he had recently renewed and has gone underground. The authorities have also been trying to monitor his movements and location by calling his mobile phone but when he calls the same number he is not able to reach it.

Nigerians from various walks of life have condemned plans to arrest the journalist and warned against it.