BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
A Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun State has ordered that two men be remanded in correctional centre for allegedly defaming the newly inaugurated Speaker of the state, Adewale Egbedun.
The defendants, Ajibola Oluwasegun Fawale, aged 34 and Ajiboye Babatunde, 28, were arraigned on Tuesday by the state police command.
The police slammed the duo with two count-charge bordering on publication of defamatory content on the social media.
Fawale and Babatunde were accused of posting on social media that Egbedun is a fraudster and that he had been declared wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
They allegedly committed the offence with others said to be at large on June 2, 2023 at about 7:00 am in Osogbo.
Details of the charge read to the defendants in court were, “That you Ajibola Oluwasegun Fawale and Ajiboye Babatunde and others now at large, on or about 2nd day of June 2023, at about 7:00am at Osogbo, Osun State in the Osogbo Magisterial District, did among yourselves to commit offence to wit: Publication of Defamatory of Character Matter, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 517 of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. If laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.
“That you Ajibola Oluwasegun Fawale and Ajiboye Babatunde and others now at large, on the same date, time, place and in the aforementioned Magisterial District, with intent to injure the reputation of one Hon. Egbedun Adewale, did falsely post on a social media that Hon. Egbedun Adewale is a fraudster declared wanted by FBI/EFCC, thereby exposing him to hatred or ridicule, or damage to his profession or trade/reputation and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 373 and punishable under Section 375 of the Criminal Code Cap. 34 Vol. II, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Counsels to Fawale and Babatunde, Oluwabusayo Ebo and Taiwo Awokunle respectively, while moving their oral bail applications separately, urged the court to grant the accused bail in liberal terms, assuring the court that they have reliable persons to stand their sureties and that they would be available to stand their trial.
However, the police prosecutor, John Idoko, objected the oral applications and argued that the defendants would escape and that they would tamper with police evidence if released on bail.
The defence counsels further urged the court to discountenance the grounds of objections of the prosecutor and described them as misconceived and baseless constitutionally.
They said their clients had made themselves available at the police station upon invitation and that they would not run away if granted bail.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Olusegun Ayilara, ordered that the defendants be remanded in correctional facility and adjourned till June 9 for delivery of ruling on applications for bail.