FEW days to the end of 2017, individuals and groups started publicly questioning the unduly prolonged incarceration of daughter of former governor of old Oyo State and blogger, Kemi Olunloyo.
A civil advocacy group, OurMumuDonDO Movement, early this year has demanded justice for social media enthusiast, who is also known online as Snitchlady.
Recall that Ms. Olunloyo was arrested in Lagos State for allegedly publishing a story believed to be offensive to a popular cleric and Presiding Pastor of Salvation Ministries, David Ibiyeomie.
She was then taken to Port Harcourt where she was arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Port-Harcourt and remanded in prison before the case was later transferred to the Federal High Court.
OurMumuDonDo Movement in its release as published by PremiumTimesNg, said the protracted incarceration of the pharmacist and media personality, who is also the editor of #HNNAfrica, a world and health news blog, belies the fundamental principles upon which Nigeria’s legal system and even the correctional facility where she is being held was established.
The statement read: “It is extremely disheartening that one of the finest investigative female journalists in Nigeria has been unlawfully kept in detention since October 12, 2017, allegedly over a controversial issue involving her and a renowned Nigerian pastor.
“Even more disheartening is the manner in which the Nigerian people, the Christian community, and indeed the legal system in Nigeria has seemingly become disinterested in ensuring that justice is tempered in this case involving Kemi Olunloyo.
“Regardless of whatsoever personal opinion anyone may hold against Ms. Olunloyo, the fact remains that no Nigerian deserves to be treated less as a human as she is currently being treated.
“Ms. Olunloyo, like every other Nigerian, has the right to freedom of expression and fair hearing. If at all she is guilty as charged, she deserves to be legally and publicly tried instead of being kept for a long period of time in an unkempt and stenchful prison facility.”
Meanwhile, a former Editor of the Nigerian Tribune newspaper and lawyer, Albert Oladapo Ogunwusi, while reacting to the satirical Facebook post an Associate Editor of the Nigerian Tribune and Tourism Ambassador, Comrade Wale Ojo-Lanre, explained that, “Kemi was rearrested after she was granted bail. The first arrest for which she was granted bail by the court was founded on the petition by Pastor Ibiyeomie, while the second arrest was based on alleged petition written by Iyabo Ojo, who was a subject of the allegedly fallacious publication Kemi made. Iyabo Ojo came out with a rebuttal claiming she did not write any petition. Kemi is still being held on the stringy basis of a second complaint. There was no condition that could not be met in the bail harsh as the conditions appeared. Her defence was handled by Afe Babalola’s law firm.
Ogunwusi added that “To be honest I learnt of her continued incarceration only recently through the dutiful writing of my brother Wale Ojo Lanre. The charges are founded on very tenuous grounds in law and I believe whoever is behind this merely wants to exact a pound of flesh.”
Ojo-Lanre’s, in the Facebook post on Saturday, questioned the undue incarceration of Kemi Olunloyo.
Ayodele Ezekiel Ozugbakun, also commenting on Ojo-Lanre’s post said: “My understanding as a journalist is that Kemi Olunloyo was arraigned in a court of law. Her plea was taken and she was granted bail. She has been unable to meet the bail conditions hence she is being remanded pending when she meets the bail condition. That is the position of the law and it’s therefore wrong to suggest that she is being locked up and her rights being violated. That is not true.
If Pastor Ibiyeomie is not the one incarcerating Kemi Olunloyo, according to Ogunwusi, then, who is incarcerating her?