Insiders have revealed that Samuel Ogundipe, the editor of the Nigerian website Peoples Gazette, is now on the run after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) initiate a investigation into his alleged attempt to blackmail Air Peace president Allen Onyema paid him $ 300,000.
Newsdiaryonline collected that about five months ago, Ogundipe had contacted Onyema to say that his newspaper was working on him. However, he offered to drop the story if paid $ 300,000.
Our sources have been saying for days that Mr. Onyema tried to convince Ogundipe that the allegations made against him by the Peoples Gazette were false and calculated only to tarnish his reputation.
When the publisher refused to back down, according to those familiar with the matter, the president of Air Peace alerted the EFCC and the Department of State Services (DSS) to the plot to blackmail and extort him from Ogundipe. .
The EFCC and DSS then organized a joint operation on the matter, our sources said. They asked Onyema to play along as the two agencies continued to monitor and record communications between the publisher of the Peoples Gazette and the president of Air Peace.
During the game, Mr. Onyema offered to pay Ogundipe $ 150,000 in three installments. After a bit of back and forth, the reporter agreed.
Those familiar with the matter said the Air Peace president then asked Ogundipe to provide an account number to deposit the money into, but the reporter insisted he would only accept cash payment.
Onyema continued to act in line with the script provided to him by the law enforcement officers involved in the operation.
He invited Ogundipe to his office in Lagos to collect the first installment of $ 50,000.
The reporter, however, said he was in Dubai, UAE at the time, but would send a representative to collect the money on his behalf.
She was immediately arrested and taken to the EFCC’s Lagos office where she was interrogated and detained for a week.
The suspect, law enforcement sources said, told investigators she did not know that the money Ogundipe sent her to collect was blackmail.
The EFCC detained the suspect for days and invited Ogundipe to report for questioning. The reporter has since gone underground and has so far refused to return to Nigeria from Dubai.
Meanwhile, further phone screening of the suspect revealed information that further implicated the editor of the Peoples Gazette, our sources said.
Ogundipe was a reporter with Premium Times until mid-2020, when he left after the medium accused him of immoral conduct.