There were reports, especially on social media and lately some online media, that the popular Nigerian Instagram comedian, Abdulgafar Ahmad, aka Cute Abiola, has been released after 19 days in detention.
Almost all the online news media that reported the story claim that the comedian has regained freedom & allowed to go home.
Cute Abiola, 25, a naval personnel, was arrested at his duty post (office) on November 14 for violating the Armed Forces Social Media Policy.
Cute Abiola’s lawyer, Fatai Adebanjo, told PREMIUM TIMES that as of Friday evening, the comedian’s supposed ‘release’ is worrisome.
Mr Adebanjo said that he was surprised that his client did not contact him after the said release.
“I was surprised when I heard the news that he was released because I know my client if he was really released, I would have been the first three people he would have called,’’ he said.
Mr Adebanjo said he went to the Naval office in the company of Cute Abiola’s family and his friends where the comedian was being detained.
According to the lawyer, the Navy allowed them access to the place where he was, but to his chagrin, the comedian was not allowed to join his family home despite being released.
He said: “We got there, me, his wife, his mother, and a friend. When we got there we were given access to Cute Abiola, but to my greatest surprise, they ( Nigeria Navy) did not allow him to go home with us.”
The naval spokesperson, Suleman Dahun, also confirmed Cute Abiola’s release in a telephone interview with this newspaper.
Mr Dahun said that the skit maker would face a “one-month extra duty” punishment, after facing trial.
Mr Dahun said the comedian will be in charge of cleaning, supervising painting, electricians, carpentry, cutting of grasses, and others. He will be supervising civilians.
“He is no longer under detention. He has been released to move around to serve his punishment ” he said.
The lawyer said that his one-month extra duty was entirely a naval administrative policy.
Mr Adebanjo, a commodore, said that Cute Abiola is only free to move around the Navy Barracks premises.
He is expected to end his punishment by December 15, 2021, when he would be allowed to return home to his family.
Cute Abiola, who boasts of millions Instagram followers is also an actor and was under investigation for breaching the Armed Forces social media rule policy in the use of social media platforms.
The law gives guidelines for use of the social media by military personnel including the extent to which members of their families are allowed to use social media.
“Personnel should not post their pictures or those of their colleagues in military uniforms, or pictures containing military structures, platforms, and other military-related items,” one of the slew of cautions in the guidelines reads.
It also states that military personnel were also required to warn their family members against controversial conduct on social media.
“Personnel will be held liable for any security issues arising from postings in respect of them by civilian friends or relations. They are, therefore, to educate their friends and relations as necessary regarding military security and what should not be posted on social media,” the guideline reads.
Finally, the policy stipulated actions on social media that are regarded as offenses and punishment to be meted out.
His offence, many say, was wearing a police uniform in one of his skits and for “ridiculing the Nigeria Police in the process.”
When the Nigerian navy eventually confirmed Cute Abiola’s arrest and detention on November 17, some of his fans believed that it was connected to an Instagram post he made on November 13.
He had posted a video of himself clad in military uniform and wielding a gun. It was from one of his scenes in Funke Akindele’s comedy-drama, ‘Jenifa’s Diary’.
The video many had assumed to be the reason for his arrest, November 13, while the comedian was arrested on Monday, November 14.
Cute Abiola became a household name in 2015 and has featured in several comedy skits and movies.
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