Former IGP Solomon Arase abuses office, uses Police Service Commission to announce suit against The ICIR

CHAIRMAN of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Solomon Arase has announced that he has sued three staff members of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) over a report he described as defamatory on Friday, May 17, 2024.

Although the report is unconnected to the PSC, Arase announced the suit in a statement signed by the Commission’s Head of Press and Public Relations Ikechukwu Ani, and posted on one of its WhatsApp groups.

According to the statement, Arase said The ICIR’s report was published against the “person of the PSC Chairman.”

However, the report by The ICIR linked Arase to corrupt activities carried out during his tenure as former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and not as PSC Chairman.

Reacting to the statement on Friday, the Executive Director of The ICIR, Dayo Aiyetan, declared it is as an abuse of office by the former police chief.

Aiyetan observed that “the investigative report that irked Mr Solomon Arase and the lawsuit he purports to have filed are his personal business and have nothing to do with his position as PSC Chairman and is a blatant abuse of office.”

He also expressed dismay that “Arase is using the police and its agencies to hound The ICIR, its reporter and editors for a story in which the interest of the police and its property were being protected,” noting that the police should be investigating the former IGP instead of “harassing journalists for doing their job.”

The statement by Ani also said the lawsuit has been instituted since April, although at the time of this report The ICIR has not received any formal notice to that effect.

“Dr. Arase has by a writ of summons dated 22nd day of March, 2024 and filed 5th April, 2024 instituted at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, a civil action in Suit No. CV/1937/2024…” the statement reads in part.

In February 2024, The ICIR published a report that linked two former Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs) to corruption.

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The report stated that the ex-IGPs were accused of receiving N200million each and a house allocation as incentives for awarding an estate development contract to Corpran International Limited for land originally meant to be used as police barracks.

A former staff member of Corpran International Limited Kalu O. Kalu and a lawyer Francis Mgboh accused both former IGPs of unlawfully approving the contract for the development of the land, which belongs to the Police, without adequate scrutiny, after receiving the bribe.

The allegations currently form a part of ongoing litigation at the Federal High Court in Abuja.The approval is contrary to Nigeria’s guidelines on the sale of residential facilities owned by the federal government.

The ICIR has also raised concerns over an invitation letter addressed to one of its journalists, Nurudeen Yahaya Akewushola, and the organisation’s “managing directors” by the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC).

Although the letter was delivered on Thursday, May 16, it was dated April 16, 2024, and the journalist was required to report to the centre on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, three weeks before the letter was delivered to The ICIR, which served as one of the concerns raised.




     

     

    The invitation letter also referenced an investigation into a case of cyberstalking, but there were no details of the petition which led to such investigations.

    The media organisation also stated that the invitation was likely connected to the report by Akewushola, which linked Arase to corruption while serving as IGP.

    In reaction to the invitation by the NPF-NCCC, Ani in the statement  said  “The attention of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission,  Dr. Solomon Arase, CFR, retired Inspector General of Police has been drawn to reports in the media that the Nigeria Police Force has invited one Mr. Nurudeen Akewushola, a staff of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) over his published defamatory reports against the person of the PSC Chairman. The invitation was allegedly at the instance of the Nigeria Police Force  National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC).

    This is not the first time Arase will be using the PSC for his personal issues, earlier in February, he also made statement using through the office of the PSC spokesperson, Ani

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    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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