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Defamation: Police re-arrest Nnamdi Chude as Emeka Offor files defamation suit in Abuja



According to Peoples Gazette, the police in Abuja on Wednesday detained a vocal Labour Party supporter as part of a defamation lawsuit that has been brewing since late February.

Nnamdi Chude, who is well-known for his steadfast support of Labor party on the microblogging platform Twitter, was detained after complying with a police invitation in connection with an alleged defamation claim made by controversial businessman Emeka Offor.

According to reports Mr. Chude’s arrest at around noon after he reported to the police headquarters in Abuja from sources familiar with the development.

We were informed that Mr. Offor had chosen to file a defamation lawsuit and that he would be held in custody until his trial.

Francis Obuzor, an Abuja-based attorney representing Mr Chude on the matter, said the police have prepared charges — and his client may be arraigned on Thursday morning before a magistrate in the nation’s capital.

While The Gazette confirmed that Mr Chude was being held at a facility used by the Interpol in Nigeria, the body denied involvement in the arrest.

“He is not in our custody, this matter could be with the cybercrime unit but not our department at Interpol,” said Garba Umar, an assistant inspector-general of police, on Wednesday afternoon. “We have nothing to do with the case.”

Today’s detention came weeks exactly one month after Mr Chude was arrested in Anambra and transported to Abuja by officers attached to the police cybercrime unit.

The police later said the matter was linked to a tweet by Mr Chude that allegedly cast Mr Offor in an odious light.

The tweet said Mr Offor was plotting with Bola Tinubu to compel Peter Obi to accept the disputed presidential election of February 25.

Mr Offor strongly denied the allegation, but Mr Chude was released from custody after being made to record a video retracting and apologising for the offensive tweet.

Following Mr Chude’s apology and release from custody on March 24, there were indications that the matter would no longer be pursued by Mr Offor.

It remained unclear why the billionaire oil trader decided to file fresh charges, which the police are moving to prosecute under criminal defamation statutes.

Mr Offor declined to comment on his lawsuit and police’s intervention when reached by The Gazette on Wednesday afternoon.

Nnamdi Chude, an influencer who was arrested and held by the police at the Anambra State Criminal Investigation Department in Awka, shares his experience of being in custody for six days.

His detention followed a petition by Emeka Offor, an oil magnate and entrepreneur, who accused Chude of defaming his character.

Chude was detained in various police facilities, including the CID in Awkuzu and the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Abuja, before being released on Friday. He confirmed that his arrest was due to a tweet he had made on March 13, which Offor had found offensive.

“Some officers from the Anambra State cybersecurity police unit picked me up in Onitsha during the elections on Saturday, and drove me to the defunct Awkuzu SARS (now Anambra CID) in Awka.

“Immediately we got to Awkuzu SARS, I was thrown out of the vehicle boot; the officers beat me to a stupor before an officer pleaded on my behalf. The officer told them that he was informed that my case was a civil matter and not a criminal one. So, I was left alone, before the officer who pleaded on my behalf offered me a space to sleep at the counter instead of the inhumane police cell.

“The next day, I was covertly transported by road to Enugu airport, where I was flown here (FCID, Abuja). My back, arm and shoulders are strained and bruised as a result of being thrown out of the vehicle boot and the beating by police officers in Awka.

“When I got here (FCID, Abuja) I was informed that my arrest was ordered by the IG following a petition written to the police by Emeka Offor alleging defamation of his 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 called him to beg (Peter) 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 earlier on Wednesday after my lawyer 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 IG asking the FCID to detain me further. I was asked to apologise to Mr Offor and I have apologised to him over the tweet.”

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