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Dapo Abiodun

01.08.2022 Featured Peoples Gazette Published the Story. Dapo Abiodun and DSS are Prosecuting a Blogger

Published 1st Aug, 2022

By Daniel Ojukwu

The Department of State Service (DSS), Ogun State, is prosecuting Bashiru Hammed, a blogger and publisher of EaglesForeSight, for a report on Dapo Abiodun, the state governor, which he culled from Peoples Gazette.

The DSS accused Hammed of defamation of character and cybercrime, citing a publication made by the blogger on April 27, 2022. The publication was titled ‘2023; I Was Arrested (convicted) for Fraud in US, But APC Lacks Power to Disqualify Me — Governor Abiodun Bragged’.

He was first arrested on April 29, two days after the publication, and released on bail. He was rearrested on May 13, 2022, and has been in detention ever since, last making an appearance at the high court in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta on July 19.

Olamilekan Hammed
Bashiru Hammed

Despite deleting the publication on DSS’s orders and saying admitting he culled it from Peoples Gazette newspaper, he continues to stand trial.

Checks by FIJ confirmed that the story was published by the newspaper on the same April 27 date, with a headline that reads, ‘I Was Arrested For Fraud In U.S., But APC Cannot Disqualify Me In 2023: Dapo Abiodun’.

READ MORE: Abeokuta-Based Blogger Languishing in Jail ‘on Dapo Abiodun’s Orders’

The story details his arrest in the United States of America for credit card fraud and forgery in 1986, and how Abiodun said the All Progressives Congress (APC), his party, could not disqualify him from seeking reelection in 2023.

Story published by Peoples Gazette
Story published by Peoples Gazette

The story read in part: Mr Abiodun said APC as a political party lacked the power to disqualify him, stressing that only a competent court of law could do so had the statutes of limitations for such matters not passed.

‘An aspirant or candidate will only be disqualified by the court if the false information he gives relates to a constitutional requirement of eligibility. APC is not a court of law. Accordingly, it cannot disqualify our client,’ the governor’s lawyer wrote Abdulahi Adamu, APC chairman, citing section 29(6) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Represented by Afe Babalola and Co, Mr Abiodun’s legal team further argued that the governor’s probable arrest was not a conviction and hence was not answerable to the laws that applied to criminals.

READ MORE: Lawyer: SSS Detaining Blogger ‘for Exposing Criminal Activities of Dapo Abiodun in the US

Even if he was convicted in 1986, the governor’s legal counsel asserted the Nigerian constitution only disqualifies ex-felons from contesting political offices if their sentence was less than 10 years before the election date.

It said Ayodele Oludiran, an APC member, had submitted a petition on behalf of Oluwatobi Sofela of Ogun Bibire Unity Forum, who warned the party might lose the governorship seat in Ogun due to Mr Abiodun’s criminal history and its concealment from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) despite swearing an oath.

While the story remains published on the newspaper’s website, Peoples Gazette published another story titled, “Dapo Abiodun charged for assaulting police officer, Secret Service agent in fraud case: Miami Police Department” on May 9.

Meanwhile, DSS continues to detain Hammed without attempting any action against the original source of the story, thus giving the impression, as Festus Ogun, Hammed’s lawyer, puts it, that this is all “a naked abuse of power”.

Published 1st Aug, 2022

By Daniel Ojukwu

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