A journalist with The News Guru (TNG), Ediri Oyibo, has been admitted to hospital following his release from police detention after he was arrested for writing a report on the affair between former Skye Bank Chairman, Tunde Ayeni, and his 30-year-old mistress, Adaobi Alagwu.
A report by SaharaReporters said that Oyibo and another journalist, Paul Utebor, were detained for seven days after Adaobi wrote a petition against the journalists and submitted it to the AIG Zone 7, Kayode Egbetokun, who has since been promoted to a DIG.
The entire saga has since been condemned by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), which kicked against how Adaobi was able to get the police to abuse the rights of innocent journalists and raid their houses.
Adaobi, who was a law school classmate of Tunde Ayeni’s daughter before their affair began, was reported to have got pregnant and given birth to a girl for the business magnate but things soon degenerated between the two lovers.
However, last December, The News Guru reported that Ayeni had denied paternity of Adaobi’s daughter, a report which was said to have infuriated the woman.
She subsequently wrote a petition to the AIG Zone 7.
The police through a letter signed by DCP Kabiru Shehu and dated February 15, 2023, invited Utebor and his supervisor, Oyibo, for an interview with the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of the Zonal Criminal Investigation Department.
However, when they showed up for questioning, they were arrested and detained.
In a first incident report signed by Adamu Sani, a police superintendent, dated February 28, 2023, which was obtained by SaharaReporters, the police accused both Oyibo and Utebor of criminal defamation.
It read in part, “On the 10th day of February 2023, a petition addressed to the office of the Assistant-Inspector General of Police Zone 7 headquarters by Adewale Ojeleye Esq on behalf of Adaobi Alagwu ‘female’ against Paul Utebor and Ediri Oyibo both males with office at Sun City Estate Lokogoma FCT Abuja that both of you conspired among yourselves to commit defamation to the character and personality of the said complainant by publishing on an online news medium named News Guru.
“Complainant further stated that both defendants did publish a defamatory publication titled, ‘Who is the real father of Adaobi Alagwu daughter’ which was published on the 2nd day of December 2022 and further made another publication to wit ‘Tunde Ayeni Debunked the Paternity of Abuja Big Girl’ wherein you mentioned Adaobi Alagwu as having fatherless child which lowered her personality and ridiculed her.
“That when the complainant inquired why they wrote such defamatory publication which was false, they criminally intimidated her by promising to deal with her. During police investigation, it was discovered they actually committed the offences of criminal conspiracy, defamation of character and criminal intimidation contrary to Sections 97, 292 and 397 of the Panel Code Law.”
Court documents, according yo the news report, showed that after the two journalists were arrested, the police obtained an ex parte order from a magistrate court in the FCT to detain them for seven days.
In the affidavit in support of the motion ex parte, the investigating police officer, SP Sani, did not attach a statement from Adaobi or her petition to the AIG.
Rather, he obtained the permission of Adaobi to depose on her behalf.
The affidavit read in part, “I have the consent of the complainant (Adaobi) to depose to this affidavit pending before this honourable court.
“That the above named office is investigating the above offences and investigation is not concluded sequel to which we seek a remand order for seven days to enable us conclude the investigation and arrest those at large.
“That if the defendants are released on bail or charged to court, it would jeopardize the investigation of this case.”
The journalists subsequently spent seven days in detention and were starved by the police even though their families brought home-cooked meals for them.
A policeman, who was not happy with what had happened, told SaharaReporters that the policemen were clearly bribed to do what they did.
He added, “Everyone knows that defamation is a civil matter. But you know, once policemen have received money, they will do whatever you tell them to. They detained those journalists for seven days even though there was no reason to do so.
“During that period, they were not given food and they were subjected to dehumanising conditions. That Adaobi lady did not even write any statement. It was policemen that did everything on her behalf.”
It was learnt that the court eventually granted bail to the journalists to the tune of N3 million with two sureties in like sum.
“The journalists have since been released but Utebor’s phones, laptop and other personal effects are still in police custody because they are trying to trace the source of the story. However, Ediri slumped immediately after getting home and was rushed to the hospital following his harrowing experience,” a policeman said.
SaharaReporters on March 14, 2023, reported how some policemen acting on the orders of Adaobi arrested and subsequently detained Oyibo and Utebor.
SaharaReporters gathered that the journalists were arrested by officers from Nigeria Police Zone 7 Headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday, February 22 following a petition written by Adaobi.
She reportedly accused them of publishing a story, which she described as defamatory, on the paternity of her child with Nigerian businessman and former chairman of defunct Skye Bank, Ayeni.
Ayeni is enmeshed in a paternity mess with the lady.
He is alleged to have fathered a child, a baby girl, with Adaobi, a claim he has blatantly denied. (Sahara Reporters)