Court Strikes out Case against Journalist Accused of Insulting Ex-Minister

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Rotimi Jolayemi

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out the case against Mr. Rotimi Jolayemi, a freelance broadcast journalist, also known as Oba Akewi, who was accused of insulting the former Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed. The court dismissed the case due to a lack of diligent prosecution.

Rotimi, who hosts a Yoruba radio program titled “Bi aye se ri” on Osun State Broadcasting Service and Radio Kwara, was arrested by the police on May 5, 2020, for reciting a critical poem about the minister. The journalist, who also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Freelance and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria, Osun State Chapter, was later taken to Abuja to face trial.

The presiding judge, Emeka Nwite, made the ruling to discharge Rotimi after the case could not proceed on the scheduled date for plea due to the absence of the prosecution counsel, Joseph Offor, prompting the Rotimi’s lawyer, Soji Toki, to request that the case be struck out.

The lawyer reminded the court that despite Joseph’s presence in court on March 30, there had been a consistent absence of the prosecution throughout the proceedings since the matter was reassigned to Judge Nwite.

The judge accepted Soji’s uncontested application and subsequently struck out the charges against the journalist.