Lai Mohammed Orders Detention of Journalist & His Family Over Poem Aired on Radio

The arrest of a journalist, Rotimi Jolayemi also known as Oba Akewi, has been ordered by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for airing on a radio programme, a poem, the Minister considers an attack on his person.

Oba Akewi had to turn himself in, after his wife, Mrs Dorcas Jolayemi, and two of his brothers, John and Joseph, who were all locked up for eight, nine and two days respectively, were arrested.

Since 6 May, when the journalist turned himself in, he has not been charged to court, but has remained in police custody in Ilorin, Kwara State, where he is been maltreated at the behest of Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

While condemning the act, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, through its National President, Osagie Obayuwana said that the detention of Jolayemi was unlawful and detestable.

The statement partly reads, “The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights is alarmed at the continued detention of a journalist, Mr Rotimi Jolayemi, said to have been arrested at the instance of Minister of 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 will have a hand in the arrest of wife of the journalist, Mrs Dorcas Jolayemi, and two of his brothers, John Olalere Jolayemi and Joseph Toba Jolayemi, who were kept in detention for eight, nine and two days respectively while the journalist was being sought.

“Furthermore, that even since Mr Jolayemi surrendered himself to the Police Headquarters in Ilorin, Kwara State, on May 6, 2020, he is still being held till date without being charged to court or granted bail.

“The CDHR condemns in totality the violation of rights of Mr Jolayemi’s wife and brothers whose liberty were taken away from them for no other reason than being relations of Mr Jolayemi.

“The continued detention of Mr Jolayemi by the police at the instance of Alhaji Lai Mohammed is tantamount to punishing a citizen for the expression of his opinion. This is not justifiable in our Nigeria of today.

“We demand the immediate release of Mr Jolayemi, a public apology to him, his wife and brothers and payment of compensation to all four of them.”

Calls put across to the media aides of the minister, Williams Adeleye and Mr Adeleye, went unanswered. Text messages sent to them were also yet to be responded to as of the time of this report.

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