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Court remands journalist arrested for ‘insulting’ Lai Mohammed in police custody



A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the remand of Rotimi Jolayemi, a journalist who was arrested for allegedly criticising Lai Mohammed, minister of information, in police custody.

Jolayemi, known as “Oba Akewi”, is the vice-chairman, Freelance and Independent Radio Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (FIBAN), Osun state chapter.

He had recorded an eight-minute audio critical of the minister and released it via WhatsApp.

Olu Olugbade, FIBAN chairman, had earlier said Jolayemi was arrested, his wife and brothers were also detained by the police.

At the resumed trial on Thursday, Jolayemi pleaded not guilty after he was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on the alleged distribution of an audio file said to have caused annoyance, ill will, hatred, and insults towards the minister.

According to the police, the offence contravenes section 24(1)(b) of the cybercrimes act 2015.

Upon his arraignment, Anwuli Chikere, the judge, ordered the defendant to be remanded in the Nigeria police force criminal investigation and intelligence department headquarters, Abuja, pending the hearing of his bail application.

The arraignment took place after Joseph Offor, prosecuting counsel, sought an amendment to the charges marked FHC/ABJ/CB/104/2020.

Offor said the amendment is to enable him add more names to the list of witnesses.

Soji Toki, the defendant’s counsel, did not oppose the request for amendment.

The case has been adjourned to June 16 for continuation.