Activists and groups call for his immediate release
Detained Journalist Bashiru Ahmed Olamilekan is spending his 132nd day in Abeokuta Correctional Center, Ogun state. The blogger, also the publisher of EaglesForeSight was arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) on April 29 over a news report on his website.
The news report culled from People’s Gazzette online newspaper narrated how the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun was convicted of fraud in the United States of America.
The Department of State Security (DSS) arrested Bashiru over an allegation of character defamation and cybercrime, citing a publication made by the blogger on April 27, 2022. The publication was titled “2023; I Was Arrested (convicted) for Fraud in the US, But APC Lacks the Power to Disqualify Me – Governor Abiodun.”
Bashiru was first arrested on April 29, two days after the publication, and later released on bail. He was rearrested on May 13, 2022, and subsequently arraigned at a High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
After his arrest, Bashiru was coerced by his accusers to delete the story from his web page. The Blogger’s decision to comply with the demands of the security operatives did not change anything, as he was still remanded in prison custody.
However, on May 27, 2022, the High Court Judge granted him bail under stringent conditions which stipulate that he must provide two sureties who own property worth three million Naira. Both sureties are also expected to deposit one million cash as a bail bond. A condition he is unable to fulfill.
NOHR gathered from close family sources that he has been sick for the past two months. “His condition is deteriorating badly and you know we do not have a good hospital in the prison” said the source
Reacting to the continuing detention of Bashiru Ahmed Olamilekan, a civil society organization Take It Back Movement(TIB) said the continued detention of Bashiru is unacceptable.
Speaking through its national coordinator, Sanyaolu Juwon, TIB said “It remains a very sad and rather embarrassing trend we see among the rulers of Nigeria at all levels, always quick to muzzle dissent and free speech.
“Like the Ogun state governor, we see a similar trend with governor Okowa in Delta state who has detained child rights activist, Aghogho for months for calling the attention of the government to rampant cases of child trafficking and the complicity of state institutions in Delta state.
“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Olamilekan and we insist that Press freedom and rights to free speech are rights guaranteed under national and international laws, and must be fully respected.”
In his own comment, Mr Kunle Wizeman Ajayi, General Secretary of the United Action For Democracy (UAD) said that “ It’s been great injustice that Governor Dapo Abiodun has detained Bashiru Ahmed this long just because he unraveled his secret. Bashiru Ahmed, in a sane society, is supposed to be celebrated not jailed.
I call on all lovers of justice and equity to rise in solidarity with Bashiru so he can reunite with his family!”
Mr. Bashiru Ahmed’s case comes up on the 6th of October in Abeokuta High court.