The Nigeria Police Force, Kwara State command, has detained two online journalists, Abdulrazaq Aiyelabegan Babatunde and Lukman Oluwatoyin Bolakale, since Monday on the orders of some officials of the Kwara State Government.
The two journalists – Babatunde and Bolakale who are publishers of Just Events Online and Satcom Media respectively – have been under incarceration at the Kwara State Police Command September 11 over infighting within ranks of the state government, it was learnt.
It was further gathered that the detention is at the behest of a petition written against the duo by the immediate past Principal Private Secretary (PSS) to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq – Ms Monsurah Jumoke Gafar alleging defamation of character.
The contentious story titled “Gov Abdulrazaq’s Camp Kicks Against Reappointment of Jumoke Gafar” was extracted from a press release signed by one Chief Rotimi Adebowale which was duly accredited.
The journalists were invited via a phone call by one Sikiru Adedayo of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cultism unit of the Kwara State Police command, an invitation which they honoured within 2 hours.
They were questioned about the veracity and source of the report, which they promptly availed them the source of the press release.
However, having availed the police the details, including phone number and position of the source, who is a senior government official, the police are yet to effect arrest, while the journalists remain in police custody.
Meanwhile, 72 hours after providing details of the source, rather than the police to grant them bail, arrest the culprit and continue their possible investigation, the two journalists were arraigned for cyber stalking and conspiracy at a Kwara state Revenue Court presided over by Magistrate A. A. Ajia which in turn remanded them for 21 days at the police custody.
It was gathered that the continued detention of the two journalists, despite availing the police details of the source of the news report was not unconnected with continuous pressure being pulled by opposing forces within Governor AbdulRazaq’s camp.
The contentious report suggests that some forces within the governor’s camp who sponsored a petition against the former PPS did not want Gafar to be reappointed as the PPS to the governor, while the PPS was also struggling to get back at her antagonists within the governor’s camp, using the journalists as a pawn in the power play.
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