Hundeyin broods as FBI retracts from releasing Tinubu’s files
Nigerian investigative journalist, Mr. David Hundeyin, is full of regrets after the Federal Burau of Investigation (FBI) announced that it won’t be releasing files containing information believed to be President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s criminal past.
Rather, the Bureau said it will only release documents that do not have Tinubu’s name in any crime in the U.S, according to court document obtained by this medium.
The report recalled that Mr. Hundeyin and his American partner, Mr. Aaron Greenspan, an American tech expert, had commenced a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act request regarding Tinubu’s criminal records with US law enforcement.
FBI and five other US agencies had agreed to release documents relating to the crimes involving Tinubu while he lived in the U.S. only to retract few days after the Supreme Court judgement that upheld his election.
Reacting to the decision of the FBI to withdraw from its earlier pledge, Hundeyin blamed it on some unnamed over-zealous journalist who blew the lid on his activities with Aaron Greenspan.
Taking to his social media handle, he wrote:
“In October 2022, Aaron Greenspan and I commenced an FOIA request process regarding Bola Tinubu’s extensive criminal records with US law enforcement.
“Over the next several months, we worked diligently and in silence as the case made its way through the FOIA rejection appeal and subsequent court process.
“I had every opportunity to let the world know about the case and our work on it, but I have always understood that the one superpower I have as an independent investigative journalist is the ability to move in silence and carefully manage information.
“The extent to which nobody knows how much I know is the extent to which my work has power.
“In May, someone decided to do a search of cases involving Tinubu’s name on PACER, the public United States Courts database. They came across our lawsuit, which was still in its adolescence at the time, and decided to publish it.
“I checked Twitter one afternoon and lo and behold – the details of this lawsuit, which I had been quietly funding out of my personal PayPal account splashed all over Twitter in the name of journalism.
“From that moment, Tinubu’s people were effectively given advance notice to pull out all the legal, political and diplomatic tricks in their arsenal.
“This was the exact reason why I did not publicise the case when we started working on it, but PACER is a public database and the inability of other people to keep their mouths shut is not under my control.
“After having initially stated unambiguously that it would comply with our FOIA clearly titled “Bola Ahmed Tinubu and K.O. Tinubu,” after we filed the lawsuit, the FBI today has walked back on its position and now claims that it will only release documents not directly mentioning Bola Tinubu.
“Of course, it is impossible to prove what manner and extent of political interference and lobbying has taken place here, but what I do know is that we never had these problems until Nigerian journalists who were not involved in the case, and who made no effort to investigate Tinubu’s background until they saw an opportunity for cheap glory-hunting, involved themselves and destroyed the one advantage we had – stealth.
“My 1 year+ of hard work and financial commitment has just gone to waste because some people’s need for loud headlines was more important than anything else.”
Hundeyin and his Greenspan, meanwhile, have not disclosed if they will file an appeal against the decision of FBI or not. Read more.