An Ogun State publisher, Ahmed Olamilekan, who was arrested over a report on the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has spent 100 days in detention.
Olamilekan, popularly known as Labash, was arrested mid-May, 2022 over a report said to be on Abiodun’s alleged criminal records in the United States.
The lawyer who was handling his case, Festus Ogun, had said that Olamileken was detained on Friday, May 13, after he honoured an invitation by the Ogun State command of the secret police.
He accused Governor Abiodun of instigating his client’s arrest, adding that Abiodun had the right to challenge the publication in court instead of using the Department of State Security Service to harass the reporter.
He said, “Ahmed was invited for questioning by the Ogun State command of the Department of State Services over a publication relating to the controversial criminal past of the state governor. Thereafter, he was forced against his will to pull down the story from his news blog.
“On Friday (May 13), last week, he was invited again and because my client had nothing to hide, he again honoured their invitation. Since then, he has been held incommunicado. He has not been granted access to his family or lawyer and he has been detained beyond the time contemplated by law. Currently, he is being arbitrarily tortured, intimidated and denied his fundamental rights to liberty guaranteed under Section 35 of the constitution.
However, a new lawyer, who is to take over on the case, but does not want to be mentioned for the main time, said efforts were being made to seek his release.
In a chat with our The PUNCH on Sunday, he said, “We are working assiduously toward his release. The Ogun State Government, particularly the governor is the one holding him to ransom. This is nothing but a huge slap on the press freedom, coming on the heels of ban on AIT and other broadcast media by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission.”
The PUNCH gathered that Labash had only republished an article about the governor on his blog.
According to the Founder of Foundation of Investigative Journalism, Fisayo Soyombo, Labash was coerced into deleting the publication.
“It is now 100 days since Governor Dapo Abiodun, the ‘eleyi’ of Ogun State, started keeping blogger Hammed ‘Labash’ Olamilekan in prison for republishing a newspaper article about the governor on his blog. This is despite coercing Lekan into deleting the publication,” Soyombo tweeted, Saturday.
Labash is currently detained at Ibara Prison, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.
The PUNCH gathered the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun State, had however, granted him bail on May 27, on terms which included the sum of N3 million with two sureties in the sum of N1 million.