The Nigerian Police Authorities Must Drop Trumped-Up Charges Against Whistleblower, Emeh Nnamdi 

By Chido Onumah 
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We are a group of civil society organisations working to preserve whistleblowing as a fundamental right of free expression. To this end, we are calling on the Nigeria Police Force to immediately drop the trumped-up charges of "unlawful possession of firearm, money laundering, defamation of character, fraud, and impersonation" levelled against Emeh Nnamdi, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and an IT consultant to the Anambra State police command. Nnamdi’s crime was that he revealed shocking details about police extortion, torture, extrajudicial executions, and organ harvesting by senior police officers in Anambra State.

Twenty-six-year-old Nnamdi was taken into custody on March 3, 2022, by INTERPOL after two weeks on the run. He is currently detained at the Force Headquarters in Abuja where he faces the possibility of ill-treatment, instead of being protected by the police, for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and exposing human rights violations.

On February 16, 2023, Gistlover, an independent digital news and entertainment platform, revealed the shocking details about how senior police officers in Zone 13 and Anambra State command were involved in extortion, extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearance, and organ harvesting of detainees in their custody. The story was corroborated by video evidence of former detainees who were forced to confess serious crimes and who disappeared shortly after. Some families of the victims have since confirmed the story.

Shortly after the revelation, the police announced that it will launch a full-scale investigation into the allegations, but instead of taking the accused police officers into custody they declared Nnamdi, who works with the accused police team, wanted for sundry offences including suspicion that he must have passed the vital information to Gistlover blog. We urge the police to immediately release him or charge him accordingly. We believe that Nnamdi could be at risk of ill-treatment if he is not released or charged to court immediately.

Whistleblowers are vital for a transparent society. By exercising the right to inform and be informed and the right of people to know, whistleblowers play a crucial part in the realization of accountability and good governance. They are essential to awakening informed debate within public opinion, crucial to opening up investigation by journalists, and necessary for questioning decision-makers. Whistleblowers are very important in the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, social justice and the fight against corruption. Nevertheless, whistleblowers in Nigeria remain in an extremely dangerous situation. Vulnerable, exposed to reprisals and pressure with psychological impacts on both themselves and their families, whistleblowers have persistently faced a wave of intimidation and often risk abusive defamation proceedings.

It is unfortunate that the laws relating to defamation, as well as the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015, continue to be abused and repeatedly used by the authorities in Nigeria to harass, intimidate and persecute whistleblowers, human rights defenders and activists. We believe that no one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations by the police or the government. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression.

Therefore, the undersigned are calling on the Nigeria Police Force to:

  • Immediately release and drop the charges against Nnamdi and other whistleblowers and ensure that they do not suffer any retaliation.
  • End the intimidation, harassment and attacks on whistleblowers, human rights defenders and activists. Whistleblowers' right to speak up includes the right to expose and denounce cases of human rights abuses, to provide evidence and to inform the public.
  • Ensure that the report of a panel set up by the police authorities to investigate the allegation against top police officers in Anambra State is released promptly and everybody indicted prosecuted according to the law.
  • The Federal Government should accelerate the process of enacting the Whistleblower Protection Act to ensure the protection of whistleblowers and human rights defenders


  1. African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
  2. HEDA Resource Centre
  3. Accountability Lab
  4. Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG)
  5. Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action)
  6. Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)
  7. Sterling Centre for Law & Development
  8. Access To Justice
  9. The Southern Free Press, Inc
  10. Centre for Human Rights Advocacy & Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS)
  11. Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre RULAAC
  12. Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF)
  13. Confluence of Rights
  14. Workers & Youth Solidarity Network
  15. Rivers Civil Society Organisations
  16. Justice for Peace and Development Initiative
  17. Avocats Sans Frontières
  18. Nnaemeka Ejiofor & Associates