Journalist spends 12 days in detention for criticizing Lai Mohammed

A Journalist has spent 12 days in detention for criticizing Mr. Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister for information and culture, group alleges.

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights accused the minister of detaining the journalist Mr. Rotimi Jolayemi, illegally using the Federal Investigation Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force, for criticizing him on air.

The group alleges that the journalist has spent 12 days in detention at Abuja, the Nigerian capital city.

The journalist was accused to have recited a poem on air which the minister considered it an insult to his personality.

Mr. Osagie Obayuwana, the CDHR National President, made the allegation in a statement on Monday.

“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, the statement reads.

“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, the statement added.

“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 to date, 12 days later, without being charged to court or granted bail.”

The group also alleged the minster detained the journalist relatives’ because he refused to appear before the security operatives.

An action the group has since condemned and faulted using section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which forbids hostage-taking and the arrest of any person in place of another.

Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the spokesman for Lia Mohammad when contacted denied the group allegation and told the group to approach the police authority.

“The minister did not order the arrest of anyone. Kindly direct your inquiry to the appropriate authorities.” Adeyemi said.

However, the Kawara state police command has denied knowledge of the incident, when contacted, Mr. Okasanmi Ajayi, the spokesperson said he is not aware of any detained journalist.

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