Rotimi Jolayemi, a freelance broadcaster, has allegedly been detained for circulating an audio critical of Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.
Known as Oba Akewi, Jolayemi is said to have been taken into custody on May 6, 2020. He is the Vice Chairman of the Freelance and Independent Radio Broadcasters Association of Nigera (FIBAN), Osun State chapter.
Olu Olugbade, the association’s chairman, told TheCable that Jolayemi’s wife and brothers were traced to Kwara where they lived and were detained by police after the audio went viral.
He said Mohammed tagged the message ‘hate speech’. Jolayemi later submitted himself to police at the headquarters in Ilorin before being moved to Abuja, where he is allegedly being detained.
Olugbade added that they have been denied access to him, saying their lawyers are also barred from seeing him while the police insist they do not have anything to charge with him with yet.
He urged the minister to forgive the broadcaster, saying he would not knowingly do anything to hurt anyone. He also revealed that he has a health condition which may get worse if he is not released.
Osagie Obayuwana, president of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), in a statement condemned the detention of Jolayemi’s family members, saying it is a 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.
He demanded the immediate release of Jolayemi, adding that a public apology must be tendered to him, his wife and brothers as well as payment of compensation to them.
TheCable reported that Frank Mba, the police spokesman, did not respond to messages about the matter.