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Information Minister, Lai Mohammed detains journalist over poem – CDHR

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The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights has alleged that Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has detained a radio personality, Rotimi Jolayemi, aka Oba Akewi, over a poem he recited.
CDHR said the Minister considered the poem critical to him, hence, he ordered his detention by the Federal Investigation Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja, for 12 days.

CDHR’s National President De. Osagie Obayuwana in a statement on Monday made the allegation.

It reads: “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.

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“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.

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“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 CDHR faulted detaining the journalist’s relatives because of his refusal to show up was in violation of Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which forbids hostage-taking and the arrest of any person in place of another.

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But a spokesman for the minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi, denied the allegation.

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

The Police Public Relations Officer in Kwara State, Okasanmi Ajayi, said he was not aware of the development while the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, did not respond to calls.

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