Blogger, Publisher Arrested, Detained and Docked over Alleged Defamation


Ms Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo, a blogger and Mr Samuel Welson, a newspaper publisher, were arrested and detained at the Port Harcourt Prison in the Rivers State capital for allegedly publishing defamatory and malicious story against Pastor David Ibiyeomie, the General Overseer and founder of Salvation Ministries Church. When the case was heard on March 30, they were granted bail, however, Kemi was immediately rearrested and docked at a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.

Kemi who runs the HNN Africa blog was arrested from her home in Ibadan on March 13, 2017 for publishing on her Instagram wall a letter purported to have been written by a churchgoer who accused a woman of using black magic to make a pastor and other men to sleep with her and to give her gifts. She has since taken down the post from her Instagram page.

She driven by the police in a vehicle by road from Ibadan to Port Harcourt, a journey of more than 600 kilometers (373 miles).

On March 15 Police arrested Welson, publisher of the Port Harcourt-based tabloid ‘Rivers Today’, after the tabloid republished the letter “on or about” February 20.

On March 23, when the matter was slated for hearing at a Port Harcourt Magistrate’s Court, it could not be heard as Justice Alatuwo Fubara’s absence.

On March 30 when the matter was mentioned, they were granted bail in the sum of N200,000.00 with credible sureties who reside in Port Harcourt. The Magistrate adjourned the matter to May 4 for hearing.

The court struck out one of the charges of cybercrime against Kemi for lack of jurisdiction to try the matter while charges against Welson were dropped.

Kemi was however rearrested at the Magistrate Court premises and taken to a Federal High Court, also in Port Harcourt, where she was arraigned before Justice H. O. Oshomah on fresh charges to which she pleaded ‘not guilty’.

Justice Oshomah fixed the matter for April 10, 11 and 12 for accelerated hearing but refused to grant her bail.