Nigerian Student Detained For 54 Days By Police Over Parody Twitter Account Of GEJ

A student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, has spent nearly two months in police custody for allegedly setting up a Twitter parody account of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
A parody account is a type of profile on social media that is named after popular persons and used mainly for comic purposes. Twitter rules allow for parody accounts on the condition that the operator of the account indicates this on his profile page.

On his Twitter profile page, Olusola informed his 46, 400 followers that the account was a parody one.

His profile read in part, “BrezzisLife, not GEJ.

According to several tweets, the student, Babatunde Olusola, reportedly set up an account on Twitter using Jonathan’s profile photo with the name Goodluck E. Jonathan but with the handle, ‘@jayythedope’.

Through the handle, Olusola reportedly fired many witty comments including some subtle jabs at Jonathan’s wife, Patience.

However, the student was said to have been arrested on May 23, 2020.

@djsheylex tweeted on Wednesday, “Twitter influencer @jayythedope has been in detention at the Force Crime Investigation Department over a tweet he made weeks ago regarding the ex-President’s wife. He’s been in detention for 53 days and he clearly stated it was parody.”

Speaking with The PUNCH on Friday, a human rights lawyer, Tope Akinyode, said the student was arrested after a complaint by the former President to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

Policemen were said to have obtained information of Olusola’s call log record from a telecommunications service provider.

The call history linked him to his uncle, a pastor in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, who was immediately placed under house arrest by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives and was ordered to invite Olusola to his residence for onward arrest, which was done.

Akinyode said Olusola was subsequently taken to Abuja.

He said, “I was informed that it was one of the aides to former President Jonathan that saw the parody account on Twitter and informed his boss. Jonathan immediately reported to the IG and that was how investigations began.

“Olusola was subsequently arrested at Ogbomoso and brought down to Abuja.”

The student was subsequently charged for impersonation and contravening the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act of 2015.

His bail was fixed at N500,000 while a civil servant of not less than level 15 is expected to stand as his surety.

“Olusola has no parents and has not been able to meet the bail conditions hence his continued detention. However, we believe he will be out soon,” Akinyode said.

The lawyer, however, said Section 22(3)(c) of the Cybercrime Act places the burden on Jonathan to show that Olusola had used the Twitter account to defraud members of the public or defame his character.

There have been calls for Olusola’s release on social media in the last three days with the #Freeshola trending at number one on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Spokesman for Jonathan, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, had yet to respond to a text message two days after The PUNCH sent an inquiry.

The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, did not respond to calls.

Jonathan is currently on an ECOWAS assignment in Mali where he is leading peace talks.

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