Alleged Defamation: Court refuses prosecution’s prayer to remand Kwara Vanguard Correspondent

A Magistrate Court sitting in Ilorin on Wednesday granted bail to Kwara State Correspondent of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr Demola Akinyemi over a case of alleged criminal conspiracy, defamation and falsehood levelled against him by an Ilorin based trader Alhaja Mariam Babatunde Arolahun.

Arolahun a trader in the popular Oja -Tutun market, Ilorin had petitioned the police through her lawyer alleging Akinyemi of “criminal conspiracy, defamation and falsehood” over a publication in the paper’s online medium titled “Kwara market women threatens to protest naked over colleagues mysterious death”

The story was published in the paper’s online medium of January 30th 2024..

It would be recalled that the nominal complainant had allegedly an altercation with another trader , Medinat in the same Oja-tuntu market , Ilorin over misunderstanding that erupted between the duo over a shop allocated to them by the authorities of Ilorin West local government after which the co- trader later died.

Following the publication of the story, the complaint petitioned the police alleging conspiracy, defamation and falsehood.

Consequently the police on Tuesday May 7, 2024 invited Akinyemi and arraigned him before Magistrate Court in Ilorin on Wednesday .

In his submission before the court presided over by magistrate Balkis Baraje, the prosecution counsel corporal Abdulraheem Musa told the court not to grant the defendant bail saying the police had not concluded investigation and that the defendant might jump bail.

He said in the event the court decided to grant the defendant bail, it stringent condition should be attached to it.

But counsel to the defendant, A. C Okafor and H A Musa argued that the offences for which Akinyemi was arraigned in court is a minor offence and assured the court that the defendant will not jump bailed.

Okafor said “bail is at the discretion of the court and should be used judiciously”.

He said the police First Information Report (FIR ) with which the defendant was brought to court ” is a mere information and the defendant is innocent until proven otherwise by the court”.

He thereafter urged the court to grant Akinyemi bail in subtle manner.

Okafor said “refusal of grant the defendant bail will amount to pre-trial punishment which the law abhors” .

After listening to the submissions of both prosecution and the defendant’s counsel , the presiding magistrate granted Akinyemi bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum, one of which must be close relation to the defendant.

He later adjourned the case till May 20, 2024 for commencement of hearing.

Editor

Ibrahim Sheriff is the Editor of Fresh Insight and former Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly. Although a management science researcher by training, he has over five years experience of practice in Journalism, Public Relations and Communication Strategy. Sheriff holds a Masters Degree in Finance and Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance from Kwara state University, Malete. He has Certificates in Digital Journalism, Enterprise Creation and Skill Acquisition (ECSA) and Basic Econometrics Data Analysis, as well as Bank of Industry (BoI) Certificate in Business Management. He is also a holder of Diploma in Cooperative Studies from Kwara state Polytechnic, Ilorin.

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