The Nigeria Police Force has withdrawn the charges preferred against a student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, who was detained for 82 days for operating a parody account of former President Goodluck Jonathan on Twitter.
Olusola Babatunde was arraigned before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja for impersonating the former President even though he had stated on his Twitter profile that the account was a parody one.
After several appeals and protests, Babatunde was released. Jonathan subsequently informed the police that he was no longer interested in pursuing the case.
Babatunde’s lawyer, Tope Akinyode, announced the development on Twitter, saying:-
“The criminal charges against Babatunde Olusola over the parody account of former President Goodluck Jonathan have been withdrawn. The Federal High Court has struck out the case today in which I represented him.”
Babatunde had told The PUNCH how he was detained by the police for 82 days and nearly contracted COVID-19 at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, Abuja for creating the parody account.
The student said although he was never tortured, he wore the same clothes for 82 days and was only allowed to wash his clothes every four days.
“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.
The student said he felt betrayed that former President Jonathan could order his arrest because he was one of his biggest supporters.
He said a few days before his arrest, he tweeted that Jonathan’s administration was better than that of his successor, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Narrating how he was arrested, the student said his uncle called him and asked him to see him urgently and that policemen wanted to see him.
The student said on getting to his uncle’s house, the police arrested him and did not reveal to him the reason for his arrest.
“It was when I got to the station that I was asked what I did to offend Goodluck Jonathan”, Babatude said.
“I spent over a month in police custody before I was arraigned,” he added.
The student said he created the parody account with the best of intentions and never defrauded anyone or impersonated the former President.
He said he abided by the Twitter rules guiding the creating 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,” he said.