The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has continued to detain Mr. Chike Ibezim, an entrepreneur and younger brother to the publisher of Reportera News, Mr. Nnamdi Ibezim, more than two months after his arrest despite repeated orders by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja for his release.
Chike, was arrested by the police operatives on August 10, 2023. The police claimed that his phone was the registered mobile device used to make a malicious post, alleging Mr. Babatunde Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and a member of the All Progressives Congress, was involved in writing the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC). The post further alleged that soldiers had been deployed to impose restrictions on movements around Mr. Fashola’s residence ahead of the judgment, scheduled for delivery on September 4.
Chike acknowledged ownership of the registered mobile device but denied being in charge of Reportera, insisting that his brother, Nnamdi Ibezim, was the publisher.
Following his arrest, a high court sitting in Abuja issued an order mandating the police to either release Chike immediately or charge him to court on August 30.
However, the police refused to act on the court’s order. On September 9, Chike’s lawyer, Mr. K. Okafor, appeared before Justice Adelaja of the FCT High Court in Kubwa, Abuja, to inform her about the police’s statement claiming they are legally detaining Chike.
Justice Adelaja emphasized that her initial order was “in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, with particular reference to section 35(4) and 35(5) of that constitution.” She reiterated that the police are mandated to obey the court’s order issued on August 30, and in the event they failed to comply, Chike’s lawyer was free to take the necessary enforcement procedural steps.