By Elias Ozikpu
18 years old Kemisola Ogunniyi, arbitrarily arrested in Akure on October 24, 2020 over bogus claims that she was a participant of the #EndSARS peaceful protest, has grudgingly been granted bail by the Ondo State High Court after she gave birth in prison.
Kemisola was abducted by Nigerian Police whilst on her way to buy drugs for her sick mother. Her arrest took place four days after the Nigerian government had ordered soldiers to gun down peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
Police claimed that she was one of the people who burnt down the state secretariat of the All Progressives Congress [APC] in Akure, Ondo State capital.
Arrested along with Kemisola were: Ojo Samuel, Ani Obinna and Ayodele Bukunmi. With no evidence that they had committed any crime, police authorities preferred against them charges of conspiracy to commit arson, stealing, riotous assembly and malicious damage. They have since been detained at Olokuta Medium Prison in the capital city without trial.
Kemisola Ogunniyi, who was pregnant at the time of her illegal arrest, gave birth to a baby boy in prison on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
Human rights activist Omoyele Sowore drew attention to Kemisola’s predicament when he published photos of the detainee with her new born baby. Prison authorities and the hawks in Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s government appeared to have been infuriated, and hastily commenced the process of punishing prison wardens suspected to have leaked Kemisola’s photos to the public.
Charles Titiloye, Ondo State’s attorney-general, had refused to release Kemisola unconditionally even after giving birth, saying that it would constitute abuse of office if Kemisola and other unlawfully detained victims were unconditionally released.
Following legal work by Kemisola’s lawyer Tope Temokun, presiding judge Justice Omolara Adejumo granted bail to Kemisola Ogunniyi in the sum of N10 million and a surety in like sum.
Mr Tope Temokun is equally working on the release of other detainees, held for an offence there is absolutely no evidence that they committed.
Activists are however demanding that beyond the bail, which was reluctantly granted after public backlash, the trumped-up charges preferred against the accused should be dropped outright as they have no case to answer in the first place.