The Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project has pledged to take legal actions against any government institution that arrests Fisayo Soyombo for his investigative reporting.
Soyombo had published a report exposing the rot and corrupt practices in the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Correctional Service.
Fisayo, in his latest undercover report, spent two weeks in detention — five days in a police cell and eight as an inmate in Ikoyi Prison, Lagos — to track corruption in Nigeria’s criminal justice system beginning from the moment of arrest by the police to the point of release by the prison.
SERAP, in a tweet thread, stated that Fisayo’s work detailed the perversion in the course of justice existing in the police and prison while describing the reported planned arrest of Soyombo as another assault on media freedom in Nigeria.
SERAP said, “We condemn the reported plan by Nigerian authorities to arrest Fisayo Soyombo over his undercover investigations, which exposed the depth of corruption in Nigerian police cells and prison. We’ll take appropriate legal action(s) to challenge any arbitrary arrest of the journalist.
“Soyombo’s work detailed how Nigerian policemen “pervert the course of justice in their quest for ill-gotten money.
“The reported plan to arrest Soyombo is yet another assault on media freedom in Nigeria and plot to put investigative journalism in the digital age under serious threat.”
The group posited that what Soyombo did is absolutely what investigative journalists and indeed citizens need to do to keep government accountable in a free society, which Nigeria aspires to become.
The group called on the police to vigorously denounce the threat and reported plan to arrest Soyombo, adding that law enforcement agencies shouldn’t be tools in the hands of politicians to harass, intimidate and arbitrarily arrest journalists for doing their job.