Student Detained Over Jonathan’s Parody Twitter Account Recounts Ordeal

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Olusola Babatunde, a final year Oyo University student has narrated his ordeal after he was detained by the police for 82 days for creating a parody account of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Recall that news of the social media influencer’s arrest flooded the internet a month ago with many begging for his release. However, he was eventually let go on Tuesday August 12 with Nigerian publisher Omoyele Sowore confirming the news on Twitter.

Now in a new interview with Punch, Babatunde has opened up about how he was arrested, his time in detention at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, Abuja and nearly contracting COVID-19.

According to the orphaned student, he and scores of suspects were cramped in small cells in contravention of the COVID-19 guidelines. “There was no social distancing. I guess the people in the cells are exceptional. It is like COVID-19 doesn’t infect them and this is despite the fact that new suspects are brought in everyday without testing.

“However, we had an incident just once. There was a Chinese man who was a gold miner who fell ill. He was taken to a hospital and tested positive for COVID-19; so. he was hurriedly released. He was in the Force Intelligence Bureau Department. So, only the suspects in that cell were tested. We were all at risk of getting infected with COVID-19.”

“It wasn’t easy. I spent 82 days in detention and I was transferred to three different cells. I wore the same clothes for 82 days,” Babatunde said.

He also expressed how he felt betrayed that former President Jonathan could order his arrest because he was one of his biggest supporters saying, “The funny thing is that I even tweeted good things about Goodluck Jonathan a few weeks before my arrest. I said Jonathan’s administration was better than that of the current President. So, I was shocked, but this is Nigeria.”

On how he was arrested, the student said his uncle called him that policemen wanted to see him. He added that on getting to his uncle’s house, the police arrested him and did not reveal to him the reason for his arrest. “I spent over a month in police custody before I was arraigned,” he said.

The Twitter influencer who had over 60,000 followers before the controversy said he created the parody account with the best of intentions and never defrauded anyone or impersonated the former President. Adding, that he abided by the Twitter rules guiding the creating of parody accounts and wondered why he was subjected to such wickedness.

“I set it up just to make the timeline fun. I have my own personal twitter account, but I just wanted to ‘catch cruise’. It was my personal Twitter account that I converted. It was the same handle @jayythedope, but I changed my picture and profile name to that of Jonathan.

“I left my cover picture as @Jayythedope. All my information and personal email address were included in my bio. It was not an attempt to impersonate the former President. I also stated clearly that I was not GEJ. It was just a parody account. I didn’t expect things to blow up the way they did,” he said.

Also speaking with the Newspaper, the student’s lawyer, Mr Tope Akinyode, said Jonathan had already written through his lawyers to withdraw his complaint of impersonation.

 

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