Police Arrest, Detain Lawyer for Alleged Defamation of Government Appointee

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On August 18, 2023, Mr. Femi Oniyide, an Abeokuta-based lawyer, was arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Police following a petition against him by Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG), alleging “criminal threat to life, malicious falsehood, criminal defamation and misuse of police connection.” He was taken to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Alagbon, Lagos, where he wasdetained

Sources claimed that Femi had initially been evading arrest and that the police had trailed him for a while prior to his arrest.

Mr. Talabi had in the petition signed by Mr. Adepeju Jaiyeoba, his solicitor, and addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), FCID, Alagbon, Lagos State, accused Femi of holding a press conference where he said Femi accused him of money laundering and printing of ballot papers.

The petition dated July 26, 2023, said Mr. Talabi’s attention was drawn to a publication titled, ‘Legal Practitioner Accuses Ogun SSG of Money Laundering, Ballot Paper Printing’ on July 24, 2023, being an explicit report originating from a world press conference held by Femi. The petition claimed further that Femi accused Mr. Talabi of using his former Company, Superflux International Limited, to siphon monies from the Ogun State government, engaging in money laundering activities, stealing and diverting COVID-19 Funds, perpetrating illegal activities such as the printing of ballot papers for use in the 2023 general election and manipulating the printing output to influence the elections in favour of the Ogun State Governor.

Femi was also accused of petitioning the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate Mr. Talabi for the purported offences.

Mr. Talabi’s lawyer detailed the alleged infractions on the reputation of his client by Femi and called on the police to investigate his complaint and for possible prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others.