Journalist and Activist, Mr. Ortega Oghenedoro popularly known by his pen name Fejiro Oliver is currently being detained at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos State over eccentric and legally unsustainable allegations bothering on alleged “treat to life” and “defamation of character”.
He was arrested at about 8:45 PM on Thursday 16th March, 2017 by four plain-clothed policemen in Uyo and taken to the Benin Airport before he was flown to Lagos State the following day.
I can now confirm that the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Mr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is not involved in the arrest and detention of the journalist as earlier thought. Mr. Uduaghan was wrongly associated with the matter because of the modus operandi adopted by the Police in effecting the arrest, which also coincided with the recent anti-Uduaghan protest in Delta State organised by Fejiro.
After my interaction with Fejiro at the FCID, Alagbon on Saturday 18th March, 2017, the facts of the matter based on information available at the moment are as follows:
1. Three Management Staff of Sterling Bank Plc, namely: Yemi Adeola (Managing Director); Yemi Odubiyi (Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer) and Nduka Mba-Uzoukwu (Head Customer Experience Management Group) jointly wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police against a former staff of their bank and whistle blower, one Mr. Dennis wherein they alleged “threats” to their lives and “defamation”.
2. The whistle blower is said to have uncovered and exposed fraudulent activities allegedly perpetuated in the bank by the trio with documents to buttress the commission of the alleged fraud.
3. Angered and embarrassed by the exposure against them which was published by Secrets Reporters, the three named Management Staff orchestrated the sack of the whistle blower from Sterling Bank Plc and proceeded to petition the Inspector General of Police.
4. The petition to the IG was not against Fejiro. The Police arrested and detained him because the exposure by the whistle blower was published in part on his online media platform, Secrets Reporters. The Police ostensibly arrested him in proxy for him to produce his source. The whistle blower has expressed his readiness to meet with the police and defend his claims of fraud against Messrs. Adeola, Odubiyi and Mba-Uzoukwu with relevant documents.
It is very disheartening that a journalist is being detained illegally for doing his work at the behest of the Management Staff of Sterling Bank Plc who should have approached the court to seek redress if they truly believed that they were defamed in any way. The illegal deployment of the Police to harass and intimidate Fejiro is unacceptable. We shall consider available legal options to remedy the breach of his fundamental human rights.
Fejiro is fine and high in spirit and is grateful to Nigerians who have spoken out against his arrest and detention. Meanwhile, efforts are on to secure his release from police custody. We call on the Nigeria Police Force to act in accordance with the Rule of Law.
Inibehe Effiong, Esq.
(Lawyer to Ortega Ogenedoro alias Fejiro Oliver.)