Detained The Sun reporter goes to court today, after being held for 14 days.
Two weeks after his arrest by the police in Kebbi State, The Sun correspondent in the state, Olarenwaju Lawal, is still in prison custody despite efforts to secure his release.
His case comes up today at Magistrate’s Court 1, Birnin-Kebbi, the state capital.
The journalist was arrested on Monday, December 10, by the police and hurriedly arraigned without a defence lawyer. He was clamped in prison custody on the orders of Ghali Muhammad of Magistrate’s Court 1, Birnin-Kebbi.
On the instruction of the Kebbi government, the police had arrested Lawal over an online publication about the abduction of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The report, it was gathered, offended some Kebbi government officials and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, prompting them to contact the Acting Commissioner of Police (ACP) in the state, who ordered Lawal’s arrest while he was on an official engagement.
The police had accused the reporter of publishing a false report, adding that he neither inquired from their spokesperson in the state, DSP Danjuma Poss, nor any official over the alleged kidnap incident before going to press.
After interrogating the reporter on the said story, the police subsequently arraigned him at Magistrate’s Court 1 in Birnin-Kebbi, where he was charged with disseminating wrongful information.
The reporter, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was remanded in prison till last Monday, after the police asked for a week to conclude the investigation.
Efforts to secure his bail after one week were frustrated by the police and the state government who reportedly employed delay tactics.
Last Monday, the reporter’s application for bail was deferred to Wednesday. On the appointed day, he was neither brought to court nor granted bail.
Kebbi police command claims that the case file had been handed to Kebbi Ministry of Justice, which is yet to act.
The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the reporter’s incarceration and demanded justice.