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Court strikes out sedition case against Oni's media aide

By Lere Olayinka
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An Ado-Ekiti Magistrate Court, today, struck out a case of sedition against Mr. Lere Olayinka, Media Aide to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Vice Chairman (South-West), Chief Segun Oni.

At the resumed hearing of the case today, Chief Magistrate Soji Adegboye of the Ekiti Magistrate Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti struck out the case and consequently discharged and acquitted Mr. Olayinka.

It should be recalled that Counsel to the Ekiti State Government, Akinola Abon had told the court on January 9, 2013 that the government was no longer interested in prosecuting the accused person and promised to provide a letter to that effect from the State Attorney General. The case was then adjourned till today.

At the hearing today, Mr. Abon, who tendered the Attorney General's letter of withdrawal said the letter had earlier been sent to the Court.

Magistrate Adegboye subsequently struck out the case.

Commending the State former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) for withdrawing the case, counsel to Olayinka, Mr. Bunmi Olugbade said the move was courageous and would help in deepening democracy and rights of Nigerians to freedom of information.

Olayinka was arrested where he was eating at a restaurant in Ado-Ekiti on October 8, 2012 by policemen from the Ekiti State Government House and was arraigned on a four count charge of sponsoring a seditious publication against the Ekiti State Governor; engaging in conducts likely to cause a breach of the peace; promoting feelings of ill will and hostility between teachers and government of Ekiti and unlawfully exciting teachers against Teachers Development Needs Assessment (TDNA).

He was in police detention for seven days before he was granted bail by the Magistrate Court on October 15, 2012.

Count one on the charge sheet read; “That you Lere Olayinka (m) sometime in the month of October 2012 at Nova Road, Basiri, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State in the Ado-Ekiti magisterial district did publish a seditious matter against the government of Ekiti state and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 50 (2) (a) and punishable under section 51 (1) (c) of the criminal code cap 77, LFN, 2004."

Count two read; “That you Lere Olayinka (M) on the same date and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did conduct yourself in a manner likely to cause the breach of peace and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 249 (d) of the criminal code cap (77) LFN, 2004."

Count three stated; “That you Lere Olayinka (M) on the same date and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did promote feelings of ill will and hostility between the teachers employed by the Ekiti State Government against the Ekiti State government and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 50 (2) (d) and punishable under section 51 (1) (c) of the criminal code cap 77 LFN 2004."

The fourth charge was read; “That you Lere Olayinka on the same date and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did unlawfully incite the teachers employed in the service of the government of Ekiti State against the Teachers Development Needs Assessment (TDNA) exam and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 50 (2). (b) and (c) and punishable under section 51 (c) of the criminal code cap 77, LFN, 2004."

In his reaction, Olayinka described the judgment as a vindication of his stand that the charges against him were "frivolous, an affront on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and cannot be sustained in any law court."

He said; "I thank God for vindicating me. I also thank Governor Fayemi and his agents for assisting me in my journey to heroism and I salute the courage of the State Attorney General for following the path of truth."