Olanrewaju Lawal, a reporter with The Sun newspaper in Kebbi State, has been remanded in prison over a story which the state government found unfavourable.
Lawal was said to have been hurriedly arraigned before a magistrate’s court in Birnin-Kebbi, the state capital, without legal representation, and charged with a one-count charge of publishing false information.
The police had arrested him on December 10 over a publication the previous day about the abduction of Dan Ribah, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Ribah was abducted shortly after defecting from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP.
The police accused the reporter of running a false story as he did not speak with Danjuma Poss, the police spokesperson in the state, over the abduction.
Meanwhile, Lawal was said to have pleaded innocent to the charge, yet remanded in prison after the police asked for a week to enable them conclude their investigations.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the reporter was not brought to court, hence his bail application could not be heard.
Several efforts made by a lawyer engaged by the Kebbi chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to secure Lawal’s bail have been futile.
Chris Isiguzo, NUJ national president, said he was surprised that the reporter was still being held after the police and officials of the state government had said he would be released on bail.