Mr. Aku Obidinma, a social crusader and radio broadcaster, has accused the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Mr. Eze Madumere, of being the mastermind of his arrest, detention and subsequent prosecution for alleged public incitement and defamation.
Mr. Obidinma, AKA Abdul, is the anchor of popular talk show, Mandate Monitor Radio, on MyRadio 101.1FM, Owerri, as well as being the national coordinator of a pro-democracy group, Imo Believe Initiative for Social Justice. The activist and broadcaster said on 21 November 2016, he was arrested by Department of State Security (DSS) operatives as he left the radio station. The DSS officials, he alleged, were acting on the orders of Mr. Madumere, who was upset over the broadcaster’s criticism of him and the state government on Facebook.
He was detained for three days, during which he said his legs and hands were chained and also kept incommunicado.
On the fourth day, Mr. Obidinma told SaharaReporters, he was arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court at Nworieubi. This, he added, was without prior information or access to a lawyer and charged with public incitement and defamation. The court ordered that he be remanded at Owerri Prison, where he ended up spending 57 days.
“The magistrate gave me impossible bail conditions and every attempt by anybody to bail me was thwarted by the Deputy Governor, who was personally threatening them. On 17 January, Justice Ukoha of Owerri High Court set aside the bail conditions and made it an open bail, following my lawyers’ appeal and that saw to my release,” he told SaharaReporters.
Since his release, his trial has continued. He, however, said the plan of the government is to keep him out of circulation before the next general elections because he has been insisting that the Imo state government must be accountable and transparent.
Mr. Obidinma is due to appear in court on Tuesday. His defense is being handled by Mr. Wisdom Durueke, who is offering the service pro bono.