• News - South West - Osun
  • Updated: May 19, 2020

Journalist In Detention For Criticising Lai Mohammed

Journalist In Detention For Criticising Lai Mohammed


The Vice-Chairman of  Freelance and Independent Radio Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (FIBAN), Osun state chapter, Rotimi Jolayemi, has been put in detention on the order of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, according to TheCable.

The journalist has been in detention for the past 12 days after he shared an audio on messaging platform WhatsApp, censuring the minister, as disclosed by the Chairman of FIBAN, Olu OIugbade.

Olu said, “The audio started going viral, and days after, his wife and brothers were traced in Kwara where they lived and were detained by the police.

“We were then told the minister had listened to the audio and tagged it hate speech. Comrade Jolayemi later showed up at the police headquarters in Ilorin and submitted himself for investigation. He was then moved to Abuja and since we’ve not been allowed access to him.

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“Every time we went there with our lawyers, they would turn us back. We asked that he be charged but the police say they don’t have anything to use against him yet.”

Olu expressed concerns over the health of his colleague, stating that he, Jolayemi, had health issues that could get worse if he remained in detention.

“Jolayemi’s health can’t cope with this kind of detention and I’m afraid if he’s not freed on time, things might get worse."

Speaking on the issue is the President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Osagie Obayuwana, who said, “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 read.

“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.

“The continued detention of Mr. Jolayemi by the police and 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,” the statement further read.

“As the mouthpiece of the General Buhari Govemment and Minister of Information and Culture, one would have thought that Alhaji Mohammed would subscribe to the democratic tenet of letting different ideas contend; furthermore, that the culture of free expression of all shades of opinion is one that the Hon. Minister would hold dear. Being a man of letters himself, one would have also expected that the Hon. Minister would react in writing to the content of Mr. Jolayemi’s poem.”

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