CALABAR: Police Arrest Journalist, Invite Another Over Defamation Petition By Senator Otu, Collect N100k Bail

In Breaking News, Podcast, Reports

By Jonathan Ugbal

Listen To The Report

The Zone 6 Command of the Nigerian Police Force on Monday arrested Mr. Victor Ita, a journalist with over 20 years of experience over a defamation petition written by the former federal lawmaker, Senator Bassey Otu.

Mr. Ita who publishes CrossRiverTimes, an online newspaper, has worked with the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation, Silverbird Television, and FAD FM.

He told this reporter in a telephone interview that the petition by Mr. Otu only mentioned his moniker, “Viruz” and it was over an article shared to a WhatsApp group, “CrossRiverTimes” which he serves as one of the administrators.

“Someone wrote an article and it was published on CalabarBlog. The link was then shared to CrossRiverTimes WhatsApp group which Barr. Ekpenyong Akiba usually shares things as well. A petition was then written on defamation,” Mr. Ita said.

Mr. Ekpenyong, a longstanding ally of Senator Otu is said to have written the petition on his behalf and followed the Policemen to arrest Mr. Ita.

Ita continued: “My name, Victor Ekpo Ita was not even written on the petition I was shown after my arrest. What they wrote there was ‘Virus’ and they claimed that my arrest was because the person who shared it to the WhatsApp group was working for Silverbird which I left long ago.”

Mr. Victor Ekpo Ita, Publisher of CrossRiverTimes

The Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 forbids the Police from arresting someone instead of another.

However, the arrest was led by one Supol Raphael Ebi whose line has been switched off after this reporter got ahold of it.

Mr. Otu is nursing an ambition to be Governor in 2023. And, Mr. Ita said he was even pressured to implicate another aspirant due to his political affiliation.

He later transferred NGN100,000 to another female Police officer, Effiom Akon David as “bail.”

Again, the ACJA 2015 says administrative bail is free and prevents law enforcement agents from keeping a suspect in custody beyond 24 hours without an order of Court.

“I made the transfer to them among other cash they took from me because I had other things to pursue,” Ita said, adding that his activities for the day were cut short.

How It Began

One David Takon wrote an article weeks ago in the capacity of the Director-General of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Vanguard wherein he questioned claims attributed to Senator Otu that the PDP was begging him to defect from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and contest for governorship on the platform of the PDP.

The Alert

At press time, CrossRiverWatch could not verify whether Mr. Otu made such claims.

Mr. David claimed that Mr. Otu said the PDP was offering him N2 Billion. The writer went ahead to label Mr. Otu a failure and accused him of snatching his mentor’s wife. Furthermore, the writer claimed that some of the vehicles he had given out for an empowerment scheme were retrieved. It was published on CalabarBlog on Wednesday, March 14, 2022, and shared to CrossRiverTimes as earlier stated.

Mr. Otu wrote a rejoinder which CalabarBlog also published. But, they petitioned and Mr. Hope Obeten, publisher of CalabarBlog told CrossRiverWatch that he was invited by the Police.

“I went there in the company of my lawyer and they showed me the petition which claimed that David Takon does not exist,” Mr. Obeten told CrossRiverWatch.

He said no money was collected from him. However, CalabarBlog has since unpublished the article following the advice of its lawyers, a source said.

Furthermore, the online newspaper stated an apology to the former lawmaker.


Mr. Hope Obeten, Publisher of CalabarBlog

CalabarBlog has taken full responsibility for the insults and damage done to the person of the Distinguished Senator Prince Otu and we deeply apologize. It was an error on our part that was completely avoidable,” read the statement signed by Obeten Godfrey.

Efforts to reach the known telephone line of Senator Otu have been futile. Calls kept dropping with the message, “line busy,” even at the time of going to press.

Also, Truecaller, a caller identity application kept displaying his status as “red” which means he is on a “call.”

Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism

CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.

Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.

Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.


New Feature: Don't miss any of our news again.Get all our articles in your facebook chat box.Click the Facebook Messenger Icon below to subscribe now

Text Advert by CRWatch :Place Yours

Will You To Learn How To Make Millions Of Naira Making Special Creams From Your Kitchen?.Click Here

Expose Your Business And Make More Sales. Advertise On Today

You may also read!

Calabar Businessman, Bet9ja Bicker Over Inability To Withdraw ₦650,000 Won Using Bonus

By Jonathan Ugbal A businessman, Mr. Cletus Uyah based in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, and a betting


Governor Ayade And The Peril Of Ad-hoc Populism… BY AGBA JALINGO

Populism in its most basic definition is simply a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who


Policy Alert Holds 2-Day Workshop For Non-State Actors On Open Government Partnership In Calabar

By Ogar Monday and Mary Bassey Cross River State has been lauded for making lots of progress on financial


Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Mobile Sliding Menu

Share this now