Babatunde Olushola, 22, a final year Chemical Engineering student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, was detained in police custody for allegedly setting up a Twitter parody account of former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
A parody account is an account that imitates another work or performance with ridicule or irony. Twitter rules allow for parody accounts on the condition that the operator of the account indicates this on his profile page.
Although, he had indicated in the profile that it is a parody account, but the former president didn’t find it funny. He lodged a complaint to the Inspector General, who got Olusola arrested and transferred to Abuja.
His contact details was said to have been invaded via his telecommunications service provider and a call to the last person he called was traced, which was his uncle. His uncle was then placed under house arrest, on the demand he calls his nephew to come around. On getting there, Olushola was arrested in arrival, from then transferred to Ibadan and then to Abuja.
Olushola who was charged for impersonation and contravening the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act of 2015; had his bail fixed at N500,000 while a civil servant of not less than level 15 was expected to stand as his surety. Olusola was unable to meet the bail conditions.
Tope Akinyode, the National President of the Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum, who had offered legal aid to Olushola had said, “Actually, by virtue of Section 22 (3)(c) of the Cybercrimes Act, former President Goodluck Jonathan must prove that Babatunde’s parody account has caused disadvantage to himself or other persons. That clearly is not the case here. The whole arrest is just an unbridled display of power.”
On Twitter too, e-protests such as #FreeShola was taken up to draw attention to the case of the young man. After 82 days in police detention, Babatunde Olusola has finally been freed after the former president agreed to stop pressing charges.