THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA –
Yesterday, Friday, February 17, 2017, Audu Maikori, a Nigerian lawyer and CEO of the entertainment label Chocolate City, was arrested in Lagos.
Based on report gathered, Maikori was arrested with respect to his tweets about a fatal attack on his driver’s brother and five students of Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, in Southern Kaduna.
Maikori’s lawyer Mark Jacobs told journalists that Maikori was arrested around noon by a team of police officers attached to inspector-general monitoring and intelligence team and was immediately transferred to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
Jacobs explained that:
‘I arrived at the Force Headquarters and learnt that a detention order has already been signed for him.
‘I am not sure he will be released tonight.’
Jacobs said that he was told by the police that a magistrate issued a warrant for Maikori’s arrest and are planning to charge him with attempt to ‘incite’ the public.
In a series of tweets, on Monday, January 23, 2017, Maikori said that his driver told him that he lost his brother in a Fulani herdsmen ambush in Southern Kaduna and will be travelling for burial.
Two days after these tweets, Kaduna State College of Education in Gidan Waya, where Maikori said the students were schooling, issued a statement denying any loss of students to an attack as described by Maikori.
The Kaduna State Government condemned the misinformation and the reporter responsible for the story in Vanguard Newspaper was arrested and charged.
On Saturday, February 4, 2017, after strong criticism on social media, Maikori retracted his tweets and apologised for posting them in a lenghty article that also offered detailed explanation of how he was misled by his driver who was later identified as Simon Joseph.
Maikori’s lawyer confirmed that the driver has been arrested and detained in Lagos.
Since late Friday there has been strong reactions on social media over Maikori’s arrest, with a prominent human rights activist and legal expert Chidi Odinkalu calling for his immediate release. The hashtag #FreeAudu is currently trending on Twitter due to increasing calls on social media for his release as well.
Odinkalu, a former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, was among the first to raise ala Maikori’s arrest on Friday night.
Speaking to journalists, Odinkalu said:
‘They should immediately release him because he had apologised for the tweets and I don’t think the matter is a criminal offence that warrants him being locked up for so many days.’