Activists Arrested and Detained for Facebook Post

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Deji Adeyanju
Deji Adeyanju

On November 28, 2018, Mr. Deji Adeyanju, a political activist and convener of “Concerned Nigerians” was arrested in Abuja by officers of the Nigerian Police at its Headquarters, where he was leading a peaceful protest over the alleged involvement of the Police in the siege on the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly Complex. Also arrested were Daniel Abobama and Boma Williams.

They were arraigned before Wuse Zone 2 Chief Magistrate’s Court in Abuja presided over by Magistrate Idayat Akanni over allegations of “joint act of criminal defamation, disturbance of public peace, threat to public security and safety and inciting public disturbance.” They were remanded in Keffi Prison in Nasarawa State after they failed to meet the bail conditions.

The Police, in a statement issued same day by its spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said Deji along with others were arrested for were arrested on allegations of criminal defamation and breach of public peace. Specifically, he accused them of “Criminal Conspiracy, Joint Act, defamation of character, public nuisance, disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, disturbance of public peace, inciting public disturbance, threat to public security and safety, criminal defamatory and derogatory conduct against constituent authority and breach of law and order under sections 96, 113, 114, 152, 183 and 391 of Penal Code law.”

The Police spokesman attached some placards and screenshots of Adeyanju’s Facebook page which he said the Police found to be criminally defamatory and “capable of inciting public disturbance, threat to public security and safety, criminal defamatory and derogatory conduct against constituted authority and breach of law and order.”

Adeyanju was arraigned before the Wuse Zone 2 Chief Magistrate’s Court in Abuja based on a petition filed by Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, including cyberstalking, defamation and incitement. Magistrate Idayat Akanni ordered Adeyanju to be returned to Keffi Prison until December 6 when his application for bail would be heard.

He was released from Keffi Prison after successfully posting his bail against the police charges on the night of December 3 but was immediately rearrested on the spot by a separate police team which his associates said had laid siege to the prison in anticipation of his release. The police again arraigned Mr Adeyanju on December 4 on Gen. Buratai’s grievances, including allegations of cyberstalking, defamation and incitement and was again remanded in prison custody.

He was released on December 6, 2018 on bail and the matter adjourned to January 27, 2019 for further hearing.