Abuja, June 28, 2022 – Nigerian authorities should release EagleForeSight publisher Olamilekan Hammed Adewale Bashiru and ensure that overly stringent bail conditions are not used as a tool to keep him behind bars, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On June 21, a federal high court in the Ogun state capital, Abeokuta, granted Bashiru bail under a series of requirements, which included a bond of 3 million naira (US$7,230) and two sureties, according to court documents reviewed by CPJ and Festus Ogun, Bashiru’s lawyer, who spoke to CPJ by phone. Bashiru was arrested on May 13 after his news website republished a report about the alleged criminal records of Ogun state governor Dapo Abiodun, as CPJ documented. The journalist’s lawyer told CPJ that Bashiru remained behind bars because the bail conditions were very difficult to meet, and said they would seek an amendment to the conditions.
“The bail conditions set for Nigerian journalist Olamilekan Hammed Adewale Bashiru are outrageously onerous,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, from Johannesburg. “Bashiru should have never been arrested in the first place. Nigerian authorities should act swiftly to secure his release and ensure that these overly stringent bail conditions are not used as a tool to keep him behind bars.”
One of the sureties must be a senior civil servant and the other a business owner willing to provide their personal and business phone numbers, addresses, banking details, and a property deed, according to those sources. Additionally, the business owner must provide their business registration documents, and the civil servant must provide their passport, which will be held along with their property documents by the court until the end of the trial.
Bashiru’s next hearing is scheduled for July 19. Nigerian journalist Luka Binniyat was forced to meet similar bail conditions following his arrest in November 2021, as CPJ documented.