Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Abdul Mahmud has revealed that part of what delayed the release of Babatunde Olusola who was arrested for using a twitter Parody account in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s name was that Interpol was Investigating him for other criminal charges.
In a detailed explanation via his twitter handle on Saturday Mahmud who had reached out to the family of the former President said, the source whom he choose to call Mr X revealed that Interpol had gotten involved and was investigation Sola for Impersonation, hacking of Jonathan’s website and online scam.
According to him the back and forth to get the added chargesdropped which was not intially reflected on his previous charges took two more weeks thereby extending the number of days he was put in detention.
He said, “I had initially chosen not to put out a tweet on the case of the Nigerian who was arrested and arraigned following complaint filed by GEJ to the police & Interpol until a few tweets dragged me into it. Wish I could track the tweets.
“Until I got involved using back channel contact with GEJ, all I knew about the case were tweets many folks tagged me to. They said he operated a parody account in GEJ’s name.
“I immediately got in touch with Sowore who gave an account of what had happened. I thought of reaching out to GEJ to a former Minister of his and instantly decided against it.
“I reached out to GEJ’s family member who’s close to him. I prefer to call him X- he asked never to be mentioned. He told me he wasn’t aware and pleaded I give him a few days as GEJ was on shuttle diplomacy to Mali.
“I reported back to Sowore. A few days later X contacted me and reported that the back channel contact that was initiated with GEJ never reached out to him. But the guy’s lawyer, Arowolo Adedayo, reached out GEJ’s CSO.
“That two things were iinvolved- impersonation and the hack of GEJ’s website. And a third that the Interpol ucovered during its investigation- online scam.
“I pleaded with him to impress on GEJ to drop his criminal complaint of impersonation, as hacking was not reflected in the charges brought against the young man. It took 2 weeks to get to the stage of forgiveness.
“As Sallah approached I was hopeful that the youngman will be released following decision by GEJ to write to withdraw his complaint. Then, the snag. The courts were on vacation. The youngman had been granted bail.
“Which he couldn’t perfect. GEJ people suggested we wait till the next adjourned date when the application for discontinuation would be made.
“Next adjourned date was some months away. Covid 19 was a concern. Back channel talks resumed with X after some tempestuous development that angered GEJ.
“The letter of withdrawal was written and served on the police. I was told by X that he would be rearrested by Interpol on what it uncovered during investigation. I impressed on him to ensure that the saga ends without a further.
“His lawyer, Arowolo, got in touch with me to plead that I speak to the police officer who insisted that the youngman must write a letter apology to GEJ before any steps would be taken.
“I got in touch with X who told me he was hearing of it for the first time. That he actioned the letter GEJ asked he prepared and submit to the police and the Court. He promised to get back.
“He got back and told me that it was true; that it was a condition imposed by GEJ’s CSO to protect his boss who believed the youngman impersonated him. I begged him.
“His lawyer, Arowolo, got back to me and said that he impressed on the youngman to sign the letter of apology and that he refused. I asked him to forget it. I reverted to X to confirm if the additional condition had been withdrawn.
“X confirmed it had when he got across to the CSO. I asked him if the additional line of investigation Interpol claimed it was following up had been closed. He said yes.
“I thanked him and asked him to convey my gratitude to GEJ. Following day and like everyone I read on twitter he had been released.
“A few days later, X got back to me to convey regrets over tweets that depicted GEJ as deliberately keeping a youngman away for 82 days. He said he was being blamed for it all.
“I thanked X again for all he did and asked to be grateful to God who placed him in the position to help. He promised to hook up with me whenever time allowed”.
Mahmud further explained that he took the decision to make this explanation in a long thread to clear the air especially for anyone who would thing he was doing it in the capacity of Jonathan’s spokes person.
Folks, I chose to put these out because folks have tagged me to the sordid tale. I’ve not done this as GEJ’s spokesperson. I’ve protected the identity of X because I gave him my word that I would, he added.
He also warned that people should be careful when using the image of another person and advised that it’s always safer to obtain permission before doing so because such areas remain grey grey in law, hence should be avoided as much possible.
“Finally, parody account, distinguished from impersonation, is a grey area in our statute book. As I’ve always advised folks, please, don’t use people’s images if you don’t their consents.
“It is for this reason that I gave blanket permission to some friends here to use my image solely to promote my core beliefs. No more. However, if you do use the someone else’s image and name, don’t defame him or her. A joke can be defamatory”.
Babatunde Olusola a student of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso was arrested for operating a twitter Parody account using the name of the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan.