Eighteen-year-old Kemisola Oguniyi arrested by soldiers in Akure, Ondo State, after the violence that erupted in the wake of the October 2020 #EndSARS protests, has given birth to a baby in prison.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Ms Oguniyi, who had been pregnant before she was arrested on October 22, 2020, went into labour on Tuesday, June 15, and gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday.
Ms Oguniyi was randomly picked up along with others by personnel of the Nigeria Army on the streets of Akure,for allegedly having connections with #EndSARS protesters who torched the All Progressive Congress (APC) secretariat in Akure, Ondo State.
Those with whom she was arrested were Ayodele Bukunmi, Ojo Samuel and Ani Obinna.
But her lawyer, Tope Tomekun, who spoke with our reporter Thursday insisted that his client was innocent.
He said she was arrested along with others while on her way to the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) to get money with which she hoped to buy drugs for her sick mother.
Charged with arson, riotous assembly, others
The suspects were subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit arson, riotous assembly, stealing and malicious damage, and later remanded in Surulere Prison in Ondo West local government area of the state.
Ms Oguniyi’s lawyer, Mr Temokun, told our reporter on Thursday that her client was innocent of the charges preferred against her.
Her father, Rotimi Ogunbiyi, also said the arrest and illegal detention of her daughter had thrown the family into sorrow.
He argued that her daughter would not have been arrested if not for her sick mother who needed drugs.
Lawyer writes Chief Judge, attorney-general
Mr Tomekun has, in separate letters sent to the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, and the state’s attorney-general, Charles Titiloye, called for the detainee’s release and the termination of the charges filed against her.
PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday obtained copies of the letters dated June 17, 2021 bearing the acknowledgement stamps of the recipient offices.
The lawyer, in one of the letters, urged the Chief Judge to facilitate the release of the detainee, especially due to her “sinless newborn child.”
“I write to you sir, first as a lawyer and in furtherance of my conviction as a believer in humanitarian cause of justice, to appeal to you sir, that for the sake of the sinless newborn child and in the interest of justice, to give directive that this matter be given an urgent hearing as this is one deserving case sir, in which the powers in this direction could be exercised,” part of the letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES read.
In his letter to the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Titiloye, Mr Temokun called for the entering of “nolle prosequi” (withdrawal of the charges) in the case filed against Ms Oguniyi.
“No single link between Kemisola and the allegation from the proof of evidence filed by the office of the Attorney-General which is now in my possession in furtherance of my brief from the parents,” the lawyer said.
He added, “I reasonably hold, with a very strong conviction, that the legal advice from the office of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) ought to have exonerated Kemisola.
“That the office of the Attorney-General still went ahead to file charges against her which made her remained behind bars till she gave birth still baffles me.
“We use this medium to seek audience with the Honourable Attorney-General on this matter.”
He maintained that for the “sake of the sinless newborn child and in the interest of justice,” appeal to the attorney-General “to rise to this occasion and enter nolle prosequi in the pending charge, AK/3C/2021.”
“This is an emergency,” the lawyer added.
Our correspondent reached out to both the Chief Judge, Ms Akeredolu, and the Attorney-general, Mr Titiloye, for comments but they did not respond to calls and text messages.
Many young Nigerians trooped to the streets in October 2020 in protest against police brutality.
The protest tagged #EndSARS later turned violent after it was hijacked by hoodlums who looted stores, homes, warehouses, as well as private and public property, in different parts of the country.
Soldiers brutally shot at young protesters who gathered at Lekki Toll gate in Lagos in desperation to end the peaceful demonstration.
PREMIUM TIMES recalled that many Nigerians were arrested randomly in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
This newspaper earlier today reported that a protester, Nicholas Mbah, regained his freedom on Tuesday after spending eight months in Kirikiri prison in Lagos.
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