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Ayodele Samuel Oloye

03.12.2022 Featured Journalists Call for the Release of Colleague Detained by Gov Ishaku

Published 3rd Dec, 2022

By Sodeeq Atanda

The Coalition of Journalists of Conscience (CJC) has demanded the immediate release of Ayodele Samuel Oloye from detention, asking the Nigeria Police Force, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku and the Taraba State commissioners of police to comply with the decision of the court.

Oloye, the chief executive officer of Rock FM 92.3 and publisher of Taraba Truth and Facts located in Jalingo, has been in detention since Tuesday despite fulfilling his bail conditions in a matter between him and Architect Darius Ishaku, Taraba State Governor.

The group, in a press statement signed by Akinwale Kasali and made available to FIJ, urged relevant parties involved in the case to allow Oloye regain his freedom as ruled by a competent Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: REPUBLISHED: Why Gov Ishaku Is After Journalist Ayodele Oloye

Kasali, the group’s general secretary, said, “Ayodele Samuel was arraigned in a Magistrate’s Court in Jalingo, presided by his lordship, Garba S. Garba, on a two-count charge of defamation and injurious falsehood.

“The charges were filed against him by the Gov. of Taraba State, Darius Dickson Ishaku, through the office of the Attorney General of the state.

“It comes as a reaction from a nurtured grievance over a publication on page 5 of the Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper, dated September 17, 2022, with the title ‘Taraba for Sale’.

“The publication alleges a possible sale of the Taraba State-owned Mambilla Beverages Company and other state properties, including the liaison office in Abuja, which had appeared on other prominent Nigerian media prior to the publication on Taraba Truth and Facts without rebuttal.”

Upon arraignment, Oloye pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him. Subsequently, according to the statement, his legal representative applied for his bail, which was granted by the magistrate.

READ ALSO: Taraba Gov Darius Ishaku Gets Journalist Ayodele Oloye Arraigned for ‘Inciting the Public’ Against Him

In granting his bail application, the court mandated Oloye to produce two sureties resident in Jalingo with landed property worth N5 million each and a sum of N10 million fee.

According to the CJC, the court’s registrar said that the publisher’s case file had been transferred to the state’s High Court.

This could mean that the state government, in collaboration with the police, intends to unconstitutionally deny Oloye his freedom till 2023 and waylay freedom of the press.

“Our investigation revealed that the State High Court intend to foot-drag the hearing of Ayodele’s case and keep him in detention even beyond December,” the group said.

“We are calling on the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to wade in to forestall this daylight attack on press freedom, and of course the right of every Nigerian to live and do business legally anywhere in the country.

“Prior to the arraignment, Ayodele Samuel had honoured two police invitations over separate petitions from the Taraba State Government and had conducted himself with regard for law. Thereafter, Mr. Ayodele had raised the alarm that government agents tapped his call lines and were tracking his movements.

“Sources have claimed that Governor Ishaku has not been able to reconcile with the reality of someone from a different region of the country having significant impacts over the media in the state.

“It has also been heard that on some occasions, the governor spoke of the publisher with disdain, even at the house of assembly, when he ought to be defending the state’s 2023 budget.

“Accusing and maltreating someone who should have been recognised and honoured as a pacesetter for establishing the first private radio station amidst his numerous achievements in Taraba State is shameful and we are calling on the government and its agents have a rethink and obey the court verdict.”

READ ALSO: Journalist Ayodele Oloye’s Safety Threatened After Revealing Gov Ishaku’s ‘Plans to Sell Taraba Liaison Office’

FIJ earlier reported how the governor, who is in the twilight of his administration, had been hounding Oloye for a report by Taraba Truth and Facts detailing the governor’s ‘plans to sell the state’s liaison office in Abuja’.

According to Oloye, the governor had also been enraged by a live programme done on Rock FM about the plights of the state workers being owed salary arrears of 14 months.

Published 3rd Dec, 2022

By Sodeeq Atanda

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