On Saturday, Nigerian Twitter users criticised Ireti Doyle, an actress and television presenter, for allegedly sending officials of the International Police Organisation, often called Interpol, after individuals who expressed strong opinions about her daughter’s fraudulent company.
Concerned Nigerians, a civil rights organisation, said it verified Doyle’s intimidation of those who condemned her daughter, Kachi Onyeluo’s hair fraud which had earlier been exposed by FIJ. Doyle, the organisation claimed, intimidated and harassed people with the police.
FIJ reported that Doyle was accused by a Twitter user of arresting his pregnant acquaintance. According to the Twitter user, his friend would have spent time in Kirikiri Prison for a tweet criticising Kachi’s shady hair business. But Doyle isn’t the first to user her connections to the high and mighty to oppress the public with security agents.
APOSTLE SULEMAN, 2021
Also, Apostle Johnson Suleman, General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries, trended in August for harassing Israel Balogun, a religious critic with officers of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), for criticising him.
Apostle Suleman had said in a video featuring excerpts from a Holy Ghost Convention in Auchi, Edo State, in June and an Impact 2021 event in Atlanta, Georgia, in July that angels would credit the bank accounts of many congregants. And, as seen in the video, several worshippers grinned their way to the podium to share their tales of receiving fast credit alerts from angels.
Someone said had just got an alert for $989 and 70 cents. “Papa, this is a miracle,” she said. “You provided your word at around twelve minutes after eight; it is now thirteen minutes after eight and she has been credited with multiple zeros.”
Israel was unimpressed by this message and ‘demonstration of faith’. He contended that Suleman’s claims were unrelated to Christ and that what he experienced was more similar to magic than a miracle.
“This is not the incarnation of Christ. This is not a Christian practice. This is voodoo. This is not a manifestation of God. It can never be divine. God does not make deposits in people’s bank accounts. Angels do not share their wealth,” he said.
Consequently, Samuel Emune, Suleman’s lawyer, vowed to invoke “the entire due process of law” on the 38-year old critic for what he described as “hate speech and cybercrime terrorism”. One week later, Yahaya Abubakar, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of FCIID, Abuja, asked Balogun to report to the unit’s office on August 11.
Suleman told social media critics that he was not “using the police to victimise Balogun” but was simply worried about being called unprintable terms.
GOODLUCK JONATHAN, 2020
One cannot forget how Goodluck Jonathan arrested Babatunde Olusola, a student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, for creating a parodyTwitter account that bore his name.
Olusola used one of Jonathan’s photographs as his display image while emphasising in his Twitter profile that he is “BrezzisLife, not GEJ.” He retained the Twitter handle ‘@jayythedope’.
One day, a Twitter user asked if people had noticed how uninteresting Nigeria had become after Buhari became president, and Olushola jokingly responded with Jonathan’s parody account, “My wife was always the joke”.
Police officials got information about his call log record from a telecom service provider. The call history established a connection between him and his uncle, a pastor in Ogbomoso, Oyo State. Olushola’s uncle was immediately put under house arrest and directed to summon his nephew to his house for further detention, which he did.
Olusola was then transferred to Abuja.
“I was informed that it was one of the aides to former president Jonathan that saw the parody account on Twitter and informed his boss. Jonathan immediately reported to the Inspector-General of Police and that was how investigations began,” Olushola’s uncle later revealed.
Olusola was charged with impersonation and violation of the 2015 Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, and Enforcement) Act.
Meanwhile, Twitter permits a parody account, but this is irrelevant in the Nigerian setting. Olusola was released after 90 days in prison.
BEN AYADE, 2019
Journalists have also been victimised by ‘big’ Nigerians. Agba Jalingo, Publisher of Cross River Watch, was detained on August 22, 2019, by the Calabar government for raising concerns about Governor Benedict Ayade’s diversion of N500 million meant for the formation of the Cross River State Microfinance Bank.
Jalingo had said in a report that the microfinance bank had been rendered inoperable due to the non-release of funds planned for its establishment. Prior to his detention, the police invited him upon receipt of a petition over his report.
Jalingo notified them that he would be out of the state, and the invitation was rescheduled for August 26, 2019. However, he was arrested four days earlier, outside Cross River State. Following his arrest in Lagos, he was blindfolded and tortured before being transported by vehicle to Cross River State where he was shackled to a refrigerator.
Jalingo was moved to a prison centre in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, and would not regain freedom until February 2020, about six months later.
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