Court remands online journalist in prison custody over alleged N50m demand from Niger State Govt.

Posted by News Express | 25 September 2014 | 4,060 times

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The woes of arrested online journalist Fejiro Oliver have multiplied. Fejiro, a producer with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Asaba, Delta State, whose real name is Tega Sampson Oghendoro, was arrested in Abuja on Monday on his way to keep an appointment with Niger State Government officials.

Parading Fejiro on Monday at the Minna, Niger State office of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), the Director, Mr. Larry Obiagwu, accused him of “blackmailing and attempting to extort the sum of N50 million from the Niger State Government.”

A lawyer working to free Fejiro told News Express that he has been charged before a magistrate court in Minna, which remanded him in prison custody till the case comes up for hearing on October 14.

“I am preparing to intervene in the case and will do my best to see how we can get him out,” the lawyer said last night on phone to News Express.  

Confirming the latest developments, Fejiro’s friend Inibehe Effiong, who has been leading the campaign for his freedom, said last night in a Facebook update: “Fejiro was arraigned before a Magistrate who drafted three count charges against him which includes ‘intimidation’ and ‘extortion’. He pleaded not guilty to the three counts and was remanded in Niger State Medium Prison until the 14th October, 2014.

“The family had briefed a lawyer since Tuesday 23rd, 2014 who proceeded to Minna, Niger State the same day and is currently taking legal steps to secure the release of Fejiro from prison custody. Fejiro while discussing with me on phone did not only assert his innocence but laughed at the concocted and fabricated allegations leveled against him by the DSS and the Niger State Government though he is concern that some disgruntled elements may seek to rely on same to tarnish his image. He has challenged the DSS to make public the evidence that he ever demanded or attempted to extort any sum of money from any official of the Niger State Government.

“He equally narrated how many of the journalists who came to cover the media briefing by the DSS on Monday 22 September, 2014 engaged the DSS in a heated argument as they saw no basis for his arrest. One of the DSS officer then pushed him into a waiting vehicle to avoid further communication with the media.

“He insisted that the trump-up charges were brought up after his arrest because he rejected the directive to discontinue his reports on his investigations into the corrupt activities of the Niger State. It might interest us to know that the corrupt practices which he unravelled and which are backed by documentary evidence is up to the tune of N40 billion. This explains why the Niger State Government is seeking retrieval of documents in his possession and insisting that he should discontinue his reports. This is the core issue.”

•Photo shows Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu.

Source: News Express

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