Journalist Detained Over Report on Lagos-Based Businessman

Precious Eze, Publisher of News Platform

Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Zone 2 Lagos Command, on May 27, 2024, arrested Mr. Precious Eze, publisher of the online newspaper “News Platform” from his home in Gbagada, Lagos, following complaints by a businessman and politician, Prince Chris Odinaka Igwe, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mainland Oil and Gas Company Limited as well as Chairman of Chrisnak Groups Limited.

The arrest followed the publishing of a report titled “Gunshots in VGC: MD & CEO of Mainland Oil & Gas Ltd, Chris Odinaka Igwe Alleged to Have Opened Fire After Dog Encounter Turns Hostile.” Prince Igwe who felt offended by the news report, wrote a petition against the journalist.

Mr. Eze was detained for nearly a week following his arrest before his colleagues from the Society of Digital Newspaper Owners of Nigeria (SDNON) learned of his situation and tried to secure his release on bail, but to no avail.

He was arraigned on May 30, before the Ebute Meta Magistrate Court to secure a remand order, which resulted in a judicial rebuke of the police’s actions. The magistrate struck out the case, deeming it without merit and affirming that Mr. Eze had no case to answer. Rather than release the journalist, he was returned to custody and rearraigned before another magistrate on May 31, 2024 with the case adjourned to a future date in June.