The Lagos State Police Command has released Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, without charges, hours after he was arrested.
Mr. Sowore was arrested in Ikeja, the state capital, on Wednesday afternoon and then transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Panti.
Lekan Fatodu, a journalist, said he had facilitated Sowore’s arrest through a petition he sent to the police against him over alleged criminal defamation and blackmail.
He added that Sowore had threatened his life – an allegation the Sahara Reporters publisher denied.
However, it was learnt that he was released late Wednesday, but told to return to the station by 2pm on Thursday.
“He has been released without charges and without parting with anything,” Olanrewaju Suraj, a friend of Mr. Sowore, told Premium Times on Wednesday night.
“They only advised us to see tomorrow for peace and reconciliation efforts,” Mr. Suraj said. “We intend to take the advise of the police and meet with Lekan Fatodu tomorrow to settle everything.”
Meanwhile, Sowore had earlier accused the police of taking sides with Fatodu, whom he said assaulted him.
He had said: “I was physically attacked today by a gang led by Lekan Fatodu… he assaulted me before police officers at Area “F” in Ikeja in Lagos.”
“After the police intervened soon as I was attacked by Lekan Fatodu and his friends in Lagos, we were taken to the CP’s office in Lagos.
“Turns out he was in on this, he pulled out a supposed petition written by Lekan from his hat after that he became very hostile towards me and ordered that we be driven to State CID, at Panti in Lagos.
“It is very obvious that this was planned between Lekan Fatodu and the police. They offered him unbridled support as he continued attacking me.”
In swift reaction, the spokeswoman of the Lagos police command, Dolapo Badmos, denied the allegation.
She said: “Today, 11/1/2017 at about 15:39hrs, a distress call was received by the Lagos State Police Command that Mr Omoyele Sowore – Publisher of Sahara Reporters was being attacked by suspected hoodlums around Isaac John street, GRA, Ikeja,” she said in a statement.
“The police swiftly responded, and upon arrival at the scene contrary to the report that a robbery attack was taking place, the police met the duo of Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr Lekan Fatodu engaged in a brawl/altercation.
“With a view to ascertaining what led to the false alarm of a robbery, both parties were taken before the commissioner of police.”