The Lagos state command of the Nigerian Police Force arrested Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters on Wednesday afternoon, following a petition against him by a London-based Nigerian journalist, Lekan Fatodu.
The spokesperson for Police, SP Dolapo Badmos said Sowore was arrested based on allegations of threat to life and blackmail.
Badmos said Sowore was picked up in his home by policemen attached to Area ‘F’ command, Ikeja.
“The publisher was arrested this evening over threat to life and blackmail. Investigation is still going on”, she said
However, Mr. Sowore disclosed that he was attacked by Lekan Fatodu, publisher of UK-based CheckOut magazine over a story Sahara Reporters published about him last year.
“I went with a friend to have lunch in a restaurant and as we drove out of the place we got on Isaac John Street,” Mr. Sowore said. “After driving for a few minutes, I slowed down by a construction site on the road and someone knocked on my window.”
Mr. Sowore said he immediately recognised Mr. Fatodu and wound down to greet him only to be physically attacked and dragged out of his vehicle.
“The construction workers and other people around moved closer to intervene and the police were called in,” he said.
The police took Mr. Sowore, Mr. Fatodu and others involved in the incident to Area “F” Command Headquarters, also in Ikeja.
It was here that the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said Mr. Sowore should be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti, Yaba, Lagos.
“It is unfortunate that the commissioner will treat such a brutal attack against me this way,” Mr. Sowore said.
“The matter that was before him was only about the immediate threat to my life only for him to further endanger my life by asking them to send me to Panti.”
Dolapo Badmus, the police spokesperson in the state, Ms. Badmus could not immediately say if or when Mr. Sowore would be arraigned before a court.
The publisher was later released without charges, hours after he was detained by the police in Lagos.
“He has been released without charges and without parting with anything,” Olanrewaju Suraj, a friend of Mr. Sowore, said while confirming the development on Wednesday night.