Olawale Bakare, a protester arrested in Osun State during the nationwide protest against bad governance in 2019, is now in the United Kingdom to pursue an academic programme.
Mr Bakare (also known as Mandate) was arrested in August 2019 and detained by the State Security Service (SSS) alongside the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, for organising a protest tagged #RevolutionNow.
The detention of the two activists, despite court orders, generated opposition on the social media and was also condemned by local and international activists.
They were charged with treasonable felony, fraud and “for insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.”
For most of the period, they were detained despite being granted bail by the court.
While that protest called for better governance in Nigeria, the security agencies accused them of “planning to overthrow the government of Mr Buhari”.
They were later released on December 5, 2019 after condemnation by many. Mr Bakare was subsequently restricted to Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
In August 2020, Mr Bakare took to the social media to announce that he was offered admission to study law at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in East Anglia, United Kingdom.
Mr Bakare called on Nigerians to support him with funds, so he could pay his tuition.
A popular broadcaster, Adeola Fayehun, also used her platform to solicit funds for Mr Bakare.
Ms Fayehun, in her latest skit on Sunday, announced that Mr Bakare is now in the United Kingdom, having paid the necessary fees.
She confirmed that N10 million was donated “to make the journey successful.”
“I’m happy to inform you that because of your support, Olawale was able to pay his first semester and part of his second semester. He went for his Visa interview and he got his Visa,” she said in the video.
Ms Fayehun also disclosed that “Mr Bakare shared pictures of his arrival in the UK with her, asking that she should thank Nigerians who donated funds to make his dream come true”.
As expected, the activist is currently in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Bakare reportedly got a donation of £15,800.
When contacted about the status of Mr Bakare’s trial, his lawyer, Tope Akinyode, said although there is a court order restricting him from leaving Osun State, he cannot be kept idle without pursuing his career.
“We’ve been waiting on them (SSS) till eternity. The SSS are not serving us evidences and all. They just present summary in court which is not the case. We have opened defense already and we will let the court understand why he needs to proceed to United Kingdom for his academics.
“Mandate is a Nigerian whose right to good academic and life must not be put on line because he is demanding what is right. We will make all of these facts known to court in the next sitting. Matters cannot wait for years when we truly understand that there is no case to answer in all charges leveled against Mandate and Sowore.”
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