Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore has been arrested for allegedly blackmailing longtime friend and UK-based journalist Lekan Fatodu.
Fatodu is founder of Leeman Communications, a media services firm and publisher of Checkout Magazine.
“I just got Sowore Omoyele of Sahara Reporters arrested for criminal defamation and blackmail and threat to my life and career,” Fatodu said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
“I’m sure you guys will remember how Sowore lied against me that I was used as a front to receive N1.7 billion of the National Security funds.
“My refusal to agree to Sowore’s criminal demands and cut from the fictitious money made him to viciously attack my personality on his website. And imagine this is someone I’ve known and I’ve been assisting for almost 20 years.
“Hopefully we be going to the court tomorrow,” he wrote.
State police spokesperson Dolapo Badmus confirmed Sowore was arrested after Fatodu filed a petition involving criminal defamation, blackmail and threat to life against him.
“The commissioner received the petition yesterday (Tuesday) and he immediately referred it to Panti for further investigation,” Badmus said.
Sowore said he was arrested after Fatodu attacked him in Ikeja G.R.A on Wednesday afternoon. He accused the police of dancing to Fatodu’s tune.
“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,” Sowore said.
“After driving for a few minutes, I slowed down by a construction site on the road and someone knocked on my window.”
Sowore said it was Fatodu who knocked on his window and he stopped to greet him only to be attacked. Police were then called in and everyone involved in the said fracas was taken to Area “F” Command Headquarters, in Ikeja.
It was there police informed Sowore there’s a petition that warranted his arrest. Badmus confirmed the publisher has been transferred to Panti in Yaba.
After Fatodu posted a picture of a Sowore surrounded by three police officers on Facebook, many people took to the thread to plead on the Sahara Reporters’ publisher’s behalf.
Fatodu seems have ties with prominent politicians including former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Some commenters feared Fatodu was being used to victimize Sowore who uses his platform to attack Nigerian politicians. Others said Sowore, whom they accused of practicing “blackmail and kidnapping journalism” deserved a jail tenure.
Sowore and Fatodu are longtime friends. Both men graduated from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).