Prominent Nigerian journalist accused of libel by businessman who petitions IGP

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According to Ibrahim Egungboun, a well-known businessman in Ogun State, a prominent Nigerian journalist Fisayo Soyombo is accused of libel. Egungboun has filed a plea with the Inspector General of Police on this matter.

Opposing Soyombo’s “Undercover as a smuggler” inquiry, which indicted Egungboun as a “gun runner who was recently arrested by security agents but bribed his way out,” was the businessman Dende.

On February 21, 2024, the report was published on The Cable and Soyombo’s platform, the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ). On Arise Television, it was also covered.

The accused asserted that the entire story was an effort to smear his reputation in the petition filed on his behalf by D.O. Folalu, a Principal Counsel at Lawfix Chambers, which was accessed by 460PLAY on Sunday.

In his report, Soyombo cited an anonymous source named Jide as saying, “Dende used to import Turkey, but he subsequently smuggled guns and his cover was blown; this was around August 2022.”

He reiterated that “Dende’s 2018 arrest was indeed for gun-running” and cited the aforementioned Jide as saying as much. Dende was a qualified clearing and forwarding agency who went beyond only smuggling automobiles; his patronage reached far beyond the political elite. Over the years, he became more invested in the seedy trade and began to amass an army of foot troops to do the grunt work for him. In 2018, some of the youngsters Jide knew personally were caught bringing in expensive cars that had weapons and ammo hidden inside. They were working for Dende.

Dende, in his letter to the Inspector-General of Police, pleaded with the police chief to not let his claimed slanderer go free until a full investigation into the accusations was conducted. Dende stated that he was prepared to submit himself for a comprehensive investigation.

In violation of Section 24 of the cybercrimes (prohibition, prevention) Act, 2015, Dende complained that, “The allegations in the report were designed to cause inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation, enemity, hatred and needles anxiety,” in reference to himself.

According to the petition, our client is a Customs Licensed Agent and his business interests include transportation, agriculture, quarrying, hospitality, and freight forwarding.

The publications have implications for our client’s person and the security architecture of our dear country. In light of the foregoing, we kindly request that your office investigate them with the utmost seriousness and speed.

Because his phone line was down, we were unable to get Soyombo to comment. Additionally, he ignored all attempts to contact him via text message.

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