Journalist Arrested, Charged, Remanded at Custodial Centre for Publication

Mr. Ibraheem Hamza Mohammed, a reporter with FirstNews

On May 1, 2024, Mr. Ibraheem Hamza Mohammed, a reporter with FirstNews, a Lagos-based online news portal, was arrested by the Nasarawa State Command of the Nigeria Police on the accusation of falsely publishing the theft of N40 million cash from Governor Abdullahi Sule’s bedroom. The police thereafter charged him with violation of the Cybercrime Act and secured an order to remand him at the Medium Security Custodian Centre in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, pending the commencement of trial.

The said news story was published in the news outlet on February 22, 2024.

He was released on May 10, after a Nasarawa High Court sitting in Doma granted him bail.

A press statement issued by Tobi Soniyi, legal adviser/chairman, Advocacy Committee, International Press Institute (IPI) said “To secure his release, IPI Nigeria’s delegation led by the president, Musikilu Mojeed, visited Lafia on May 6, meeting with top officials of the Nasarawa State government, including Governor Sule; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Labaran Magaji, and the chief press secretary to the governor, Ibrahim Addra.”

“The delegation also visited and conferred with the journalist, Mr. Mohammed, in prison.”

Additionally, the management of FirstNews apologised to Governor Sule over the story, saying it had since found that the said story lacked any form of truth and that the reporter merely concocted the story in his bid to pursue a personal vendetta against the governor.