A young journalist, Ayoola Babalola, has reportedly been arrested by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) for allegedly publishing articles deemed critical of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
His articles have also been said to be critical of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
Babalola is a fresh mass communication graduate of the Gateway Polytechnic, Sapaade, Ogun State and the said article was published in a campus newspaper he oversaw as the editor.
The supervising lecturer in charge of the publication was also said to have been fired by the polytechnic.
A human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong announced the arrest of Babalola in a series of tweets on his Twitter page on Saturday morning.
Effiong said Babalola was arrested on Thursday in Abeokuta by operatives of the DSS and arraigned before a Magistrate Court on Friday.
The lawyer claimed he is yet to see anything in the article to warrant the actions taken by the DSS.
“He was admitted to bail when he appeared in court and we will be there on the next adjourned date, which is on the 27th of January, 2020.
“They don’t have any case against him. The point is I am aware they have been on his matter for sometimes, trailing. I think they are just overreacting for nothing. Frankly speaking and they will not get away with this because whether the case is dropped or not, we will have to seek redress.
“It is actively unnecessary to arrest him as he hasn’t committed any crime. I haven’t seen anything in the article he wrote or published to warrant the actions they have taken.”
“Late on Friday, I was alerted that my client Mr. Ayoola Babalola, a courageous student activist and young journalist, was arrested and charged to court for allegedly publishing certain articles in a Campus Newspaper called GAPOSA Trumpet in which he served as the Editor.
“Babalola recently graduated from the Gateway Polytechnic located in Sapaade, Ogun State, where he read Mass Communication.
“The said articles which were deemed critical of President Buhari, APC Leader, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the EFCC also led to the dismissal of a lecturer of Gateway Polytechnic who served as the Producer of the campus newspaper.
“He was arrested on Thursday in Abeokuta by the State Security Service (SSS) and taken before a Magistrate Court on Friday.
“His appeal to the SSS for him to be allowed to contact me as his counsel was rebuffed.
“Mr. Babalola was only able to contact me through a third party from the Ibara Maximum Prison in Abeokuta where he was remanded by the court.
“I understand that he was arraigned on a six-count charge bothering on alleged incitement, conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace and so on for allegedly publishing critical articles against President Buhari.
“The said articles also related to the travails of the leader of the #RevolutionNow movement, Mr Omoyele Sowore, and student activist, Comrade Femi Adeyeye.
“Before his secret arrest and arraignment, Babalola briefed me over repressive actions which he believed Gateway Polytechnic may likely take against him over the articles.
“Mr. Babalola also intimated me that the SSS was possibly trailing him because of the said articles.
“I condemn this despotic and needless actions by the SSS. It is a shame that at a time the country is battling serious security challenges, the SSS rather than protect Nigeria is paranoid about any form of criticism against the Buhari regime.
“The SSS has continued to expose the country to public and international ridicule over its flagrant violation of the rights of Nigerians and shameless disregard for the rule of law and democratic ethos.
“The SSS will not be allowed to turn Nigeria into a police state. We will face them squarely in court. All legal options will be explored to secure the release of Babalola and safeguard his legal and constitutional rights. Tyranny will not win”