Journalist detained for 12 days for reciting poem critical of Lai Mohammed – Group alleges


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For reciting a poem critical of Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a journalist, Rotimi Jolayemi aka Oba Akewi has been detained by the police for more than 12 days, a group has claimed.

The rights group, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) said the Federal Investigation Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force has held the media personality illegally.

CDHR laid the allegations in a Monday statement signed by its National President, Dr Osagie Obayuwana.

Obayuwana’s statement read, “Mr Jolayemi is said to have been arrested by the police at the instance of the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on account of a poem read over the radio, considered critical of the minister.

“It is worrisome that Alhaji Lai Mohammed would have a hand in the arrest of the wife of Mr Jolayemi, Mrs Dorcas Jolayemi, and two of his brothers who were kept in detention for eight days, nine days and two days respectively as hostages, while the journalist, Mr Rotimi Jolayemi, was being sought.

“Furthermore, that even since Mr Jolayemi surrendered himself to the police headquarters at Ilorin , Kwara State on May 6, 2020, he is still being held till date, 12 days later, without being charged to court or granted bail.”

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The group said the police’s decision to detain the journalist’s relations while he was being sought was a clear violation of Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) that prohibits the arrest of a person in lieu of another.

But in his response, the minister denied ordering anyone’s arrest.

Speaking through his spokesman, Mr Segun Adeyemi, Lai Mohammed urged journalists to approach the “appropriate authorities” for comments.

The police has yet to respond to the allegations.

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