Kemi Olunloyo to remain in prison as magistrate’s absence stalls bail hearing, charge sheet surfaces
The absence of a Magistrate Alatuwo Fubara of the Magistrates’ Court in Port Harcourt on Thursday stalled the hearing on bail application for journalist and blogger, Kemi Olunloyo, and Port Harcourt-based publisher, Samuel Walson.
Olunloyo and Walson were arrested for purportedly publishing materials believed to have defamed a frontline cleric, Pastor David Ibiyeomie, of the Salvation Ministries in Port Harcourt.
Though they were expected to appear in court on Thursday morning, it was gathered that the absence of Fubara, who was expected to preside over the matter, forced them to stay back in prison custody.
The magistrate was said to have been unable to come to the court due to ill health. The duo’s lawyers and counsel for Salvation Ministries were present at court. Speaking with newsmen, Counsels to the two journalists, Fibi Fawehimi and Eugene Maeba said there was a plot to gag the media.
Olulonyo has been in detention for more than one week over a charge that is bailable. Local and international journalists thronged the court in solidarity with their arrested colleagues. Olunloyo, who was arrested in Ibadan and Walson, apprehended in Port Harcourt, were remanded at the Port Harcourt Prison.