Court Keeps Journalists in Prison for 4 Months with Stringent Bail Conditions at Behest of State Government

Mr. Olamilekan Hammed
Publisher of EaglesForeSight

 Mr. Olamilekan Hammed, a journalist and publisher of the online newspaper, EaglesForeSight, is spending his fourth month at the Maximum Correctional Centre in Ibara, Abeokuta, for  following stringent bail conditions imposed on him by a High Court in Ogun State before which the State Government charged him with defamation of character and cybercrime.

The Ogun State High Court which is trying the journalist, in granting him bail ordered to provide N3 million with two sureties of N1 million each. One of the sureties must be a civil servant on Grade Level 15 in the federal, state or local government area within the Abeokuta metropolis and the other an owner of an established business within Abeokuta. The two sureties must be owners of properties in the area.

Olalekan was first arrested by officials of Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency, the Department of State Services (DSS) on April 29, 2022 and released. He was rearrested on May 13, 2022, and has been in detention ever since.

The DSS, Ogun State accused Hammed of defamation of character and cybercrime, citing a publication made by Olamilekan on April 23, 2022 on the criminal charges allegedly filed against Governo Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State by Miami Police Department in the United States. The DSS also accused Olamilekan of collecting money from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to smear the image of the governor.

The DSS arraigned him at the State High Court, where he was remanded in prison custody after being granted bail with stringent conditions.

Operatives of DSS interrogated him and forced him to pull down the story, according to his lawyer, Festus Ogun, who added that the journalist had been subjected to continuous harassment, torture, abuse and intimidation since his arrest.