‎After 81 days in prison, Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo regains freedom, calls for prison reform

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About 11 weeks after her detention, Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo was released on Monday from Port Harcourt prison where she was remanded in a defamation case.

 

A prison official also confirmed that she walked out of their facility, but declined to give further details or speak on the record.

Kayode Ajulo, a lawyer and human rights activist, said Ms. Omololu-Olunloyo, a social media enthusiast and daughter of a former governor of old Oyo State, Omololu Olunloyo, was released Monday afternoon.

“We’ve finally secured her release,” Mr. Ajulo said.

Mr. Ajulo’s law office is amongst about half a dozen firms that are providing legal support for Ms. Omololu-Olunloyo, who had spent 81 days since she was first arrested in March.

Her release came three days after her allegations against the Chief Registrar of Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court where she has been undergoing trial.

Ms. Omololu-Olunloyo said the registrar was frustrating her release from custody, having been granted her bail since April 11.

The court official identified as Maimunat Folami, a Deputy Chief Registrar by rank strongly denied the allegations, saying she’d worked closely with Ms. Omololu-Olunloyo’s lawyers to clarify all aspects of her bail documents.

A team of police officers first arrested Ms. Omololu-Olunloyo in Ibadan on March 13 on allegations of criminal defamation of character of a preacher, David Ibiyeomie.

She was whisked to Port Harcourt where she was arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court. The case was later transferred to the Federal High Court.

Mr. Ajulo dismissed the allegations as unfounded, scolding the police for taking up the case.

“There’s no criminal defamation, the police have no reason to be involved in a matter that is purely civil,” Mr. Ajulo said. “This is clearly an attack on free speech and I am afraid it would soon get out of hand if every civil case is labelled as criminal defamation.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists was amongst civic groups that condemned the charges and called on the Nigerian government to withdraw the draconian measures against Ms. Omololu-Olunloyo.

Meanwhile journalist and blogger, Kemi Olunloyo, this morning took to her twitter account to lament on the poor state of Nigerian prisons. She stated that the prison system in the country needs urgent reform.

Olunloyo, who is the daughter of a former governor of Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, also called on the Senator representing Oyo Central at National Assembly, Monsurat Sunmonu, to draft and present a bill on Prison Reforms to the Senate.

She wrote: “Need to testify at Nigerian Senate on Press Freedom, Prison reforms in Nigeria. Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, please let’s draft a bill. Democracy not Dictatorship.”‎

It could be recalled that Olunloyo was arrested in Lagos in March and arraigned at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for alleged cybercrime.

 

She was said to have published a story believed to be capable of defaming a cleric, Pastor David Ibiyeomie.

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