The Nigeria Police has arrested Ikenna Ezenekwe, the publisher of an online news platform, 247ureports, over a story on the Primus Odili, former chief of staff of immediate past Anambra Governor Willie Obiano.
According to the wife of the popular Nigerian publisher, who spoke with The Trent on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, Mr Ezenekwe was arrested on Tuesday by the police and taken to the Force Headquarters House in connection with a story he published on the former Anambra governor’s chief of staff.
“Yes. My husband was arrested yesterday by the police where he was taken to Force Headquarters,” the wife said.
The story at the centre of this controversy is one which casts Mr Primus Odili as corrupt and enriched himself from public funds to the tune of N200 billion while serving under former Governor Obiano as his special duties aide and later as his chief of staff.
The story titled, “How Obiano’s Former Aide, Primus Odili Stole Over N200billion From Anambra Coffers Purchased Properties In UAE, London“, revealed alleged choice properties that the Anambra politician owns from his alleged loot.
“On April 22, 2020, Primus Odili made a warping purchase in the USA. He made the purchase during the peak periods of the coronavirus in Nigeria and internationally – during the period of national and international lockdown,” the news platform reported.
“Primus Odili purchased a palatial home at 1804 Terrabrooke Private Court, Brentwood, Tennessee for the exact price of $1,818,718. He purchased the palatial home from Partners in Building of TN LLC through Chuddy Nnodu of Hodges and Fooshee Realty Inc. The house was purchased under the names of Mrs Maureen C Odili and Primus Odili. Click on the link to see more details of the purchased house.”
According to Mrs Ezenekwe, after intense interrogation and intimidation to get the source of the story from her husband proved abortive the police transferred him from Force Headquarters to Maitama Police Station to continue further interrogation.
At the time of reporting this story, the publisher is still being held and the police say he would only be released if he reveals the source of the story.
Protecting the source for news reports is integral in journalism practice and is protected by law in Nigeria.