On March 16th, 2017, I was whisked away by men of the Nigerian Police Force who came on mufti.
Contrary to speculation that Prince Kpokpogri was the one used to trail me, it was actually an aide of Gov. Okowa who was deceived with claims of a parcel from DHL which he fell for, leading him to betraying Kpokpogri whose phones were collected till he was led to my place.
Truth be told, the officers were nice, unlike the everyday policemen we know. They drove us all night to Umuahia where we lodged in a hotel.
In the course of investigations and interactions while in the car, we understood that the petition was written by Uduaghan and some group of politicians who said that “before these boys send us to jail, let us jail them first”.
Mr Peter Nwaoboshi was part of the whole plot. While on the road, our phones kept ringing, as Journalists, top politicians, senior activists and lawyers were bombarding our phones with calls, which the operatives witnessed.
A sitting Governor sent a text that very day which they saw first, as the phones were with them. Quickly they placed a call to their boss:
“Oga, na big men we carry for here so ooo. Big people are aware we picked them and a governor just sent a text now. This na political matter”. It became clear to them that they were carrying August visitors.
It was on Friday morning in Umuahia after one of them received a call that the whole story changed.
Instead of Force Headquarters, Abuja, that we were supposed to be flown to, destination was changed to Lagos and overnight, a new petition brought up, with Kpokpogri name removed.
They were with their phones and could see the uproar the news of our arrest was causing.
They kept wondering how journalists found out that we were going to Lagos and no longer Abuja via Benin Airport.
They were surprised how my lawyer, Inibehe Effiong got the private line of the team leader who he called and asked questions.
When I asked them why I was not invited, they said Sowore of Sahara Reporters taught them a lesson, as he was always announcing his invitations by police, thereby leading to the place getting filled up and scuttling their plans.
They feared I would do same after going through my profile.
From Benin, I was moved to Lagos on Air Peace. As soon as I landed, the news went out that I was going to SFU in Ikoyi.
Calls came to the new team leader who came to pick us that people were already in Ikoyi in solidarity, and they quickly diverted the car to another station.
There, I saw the new petition written by two Sterling Bank fraudsters whom we have maintained and still maintained broke the ethics of banking.
My journey to the ‘dreaded Alagbon’, where renowned activists and national leaders were detained. I joined the famous list on March 18th.
The issue of the petition by the fraudulent bankers will be handled in a Press Conference once my lawyers serve the bank a letter for their inglorious act.
For personal reasons, we agreed not to make it a media issue, despite journalists calling every day to take it up.
We were not ready to give the bank and workers the negative publicity they deserved yet. It turned out a civil matter that we could handle, but as usual, Nigerians stood by me.
My ever friend who’s always there when issues like this comes up proved his mettle again as the Gani of our time. Inibehe was there throughout Friday till Tuesday when I left.
As usual, he was the midfielder who coordinated everything that happened.
In him is the maxim that some friends stick closer than brothers. Just like in 2014 during the Niger State case, he spearheaded this campaign.
Some rumors that Gov. Okowa was angry over my last write up and plotted the arrest was humorous while I was in Alagbon. They truly do not know Okowa.
As ever, my dear friend and big brother I never had, Hilary was there throughout the ordeal. Like a pillar that he is, he kept the family together, financially and morally.
He was not just always in touch but when it was time to seal the freedom deal, he showed up. Just like in 2014, he never despaired but showed his love for true friendship.
Like Wifey would say “I just love his humility and respect for your friendship with him. He’s just too nice”. Like bread and butter, we blend and unfortunately for the naysayers, it’s a friendship sealed from heaven.
Nyakno J. Ekwere my partner and friend abandoned all he was doing and raced down to Alagbon all for a brother’s travail. We never get to see his type often.
When it was time to bid goodbye to Alagbon and he was needed within the shortest possible time, he drove there without excuse.
My leader and father figure, Hon. Ayemidejor Austine stood by me throughout the ordeal. All we needed from him, he rose to the occasion.
Till when I flew out of Lagos, he saw to it that all was well. My ever reliable Chief Press Secretary, Charles Ehiedu kept up the tempo by making sure I was alright and that the right thing was done.
Charlie as a friend could decipher the truth from the lies and was always checking up. Thank you my friend and wonderful brother.
My colleagues Ekene Israel, Abusidiqu, Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe and many others especially Delta NUJ State Council led by the vibrant Nobert Chiazor who were ever ready to keep the media space in my favor, thank you for true comradeship and friendship that we enjoy.
My senior brother and trusted partner, Dumuje kept the flag flying by reaching out all the way from Spain alongside Kenneth Oghenevwarhe Uvwo who never wavered. Thank you.
To the resilient bloggers who demanded for #FreeFejiroOliverNow, your labor of love can never be forgotten.
Don’t ask why I did not mention Kpokpogri who flew in the next day and stayed till we left Lagos together. He’s my bestie and is part of the freedom story.
My parents and family are wonderful in all of this. You are all too much to mention.
We shall tell the bigger story once the papers are served on Sterling Bank.
My biggest freedom gift is the sealing off of Guinea House before my eyes bought by Peter Nwaoboshi who was popping champagne when he heard I was arrested and vowed to keep me there forever.
His petition against me is still in Force Headquarters. For now, we have succeeded in #BringBackOurGuineaHouse. He who laughs last, laughs best.
I am now a proud alumni of Alagbon arrested journalist and activist. My name is boldly written there.
Thank you Nigerians. I owe God and you every freedom we got from this struggle.
For you, I do what I do and not ready to give up the struggle.
By Fejiro Oliver