Nnamdi Chude, a Twitter user, who was arrested by the police, over a petition by a Nigerian oil magnate, Emeka Offor, for alleged defamation of character, has been released on Friday.
Recall, it was earlier reported that Chude, an ardent follower of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, was released after spending six days in several police detention facilities including the station of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Awkuzu, in Anambra State, and at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja.
Speaking to our correspondent, shortly before he was released on Friday, he confirmed that he was arrested on March 18, by the Anambra State Cyber security Police unit in Onitsha, and was taken to Anambra State Criminal Investigative Department, Awka (former Awkuzu SARS), where he was first detained and allegedly tortured before he was later covertly transported by road to Enugu Airport where he was flown to the FCID, Abuja the next day.
Although the Nigerian Police Force has not revealed the identity of the petitioner Chude, on Friday, told our correspondent that he was arrested for alleged defamation of character following a petition by Mr. Offor over a tweet he made on Monday, March 13, alleging that the President-elect, Mr. Bola Tinubu, had contacted Mr. Offor to plead with Mr. Peter Obi to accept what he tagged “a rigged result”.
“So @officialABAT called Emeka Offor to beg Peter Obi to accept the rigged result. If he is sure the people voted for APC and he won the election, why is he running around pleading with everyone to help beg Peter Obi to accept the result?” Chude had tweeted.
During his chat with our correspondent from detention on Friday, he said, “My arrest was as a result of a petition written to the police by Emeka Offor alleging defamation of character. According to the petition which was shown to me by the police, Mr. Offor claimed that I defamed him in my March 13 tweet where I wrote that Tinubu had called him to beg Obi to accept the election result.
“When I got here, they were asking me to provide evidence to back my tweet but I couldn’t.
“However, I was supposed to have been released on Wednesday after my lawyer had perfected my bail condition which required a Level 16 civil servant to stand as surety for my release, but I was later informed that an executive order came from the IGP asking the FCID to detain me further,” he said.
However, due to the public outcry about his offense and whereabouts, the police revealed in a press statement on Wednesday that a petition was filed against him for allegedly violating Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015 and other criminal laws, and he was being investigated by the Force National Cyber Crime Centre.
NPF also revealed that a prima facie case had been established against Chude, adding that his case file had been forwarded to the Force Legal Department for further action.
Confirming his arrest and the allegation leveled against him in a statement obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, claimed that Chude was arrested for cyber-stalking.
Adejobi said, “The Nigeria Police hereby confirm that one Mr. Chude Nnamdi with Twitter handle ‘@chude__’ was arrested in Onitsha, Anambra State on March 18, 2023, and he is being investigated by the NPF-NCCC Abuja, for cyber-stalking, under a complaint received via a petition, about his activities on social media which contravenes the provision of Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015 and other criminal laws.”