Oriyomi Hamzat, the ace Nigerian broadcaster and owner of Agidigbo FM, has been released from police custody.
The PUNCH had reported that Hamzat, who had consistently advocated for justice in a murder case involving Hilton Hotel, Ile-Ife owner, Chief Rahman Adedoyin, was arrested on Thursday.
The management of his radio station confirmed his release in a statement on Friday, faulting the claims of the police over the reasons stated for Oriyomi’s arrest.
The statement read, “It is with a heart filled with immense gratitude and huge relief that we confirm to the general public that Mr. Oriyomi Hamzat has finally regained his freedom after the arrest that spanned the entirety of yesterday.
“He was released on bail to his lawyers after due conversations with the authorities, particularly with respect to the petition written against him by Rahmon Adedoyin’s lawyers and the validity of his consequent arrest.
“As we have rightly stated yesterday, at no point was Mr. Oriyomi Hamat found guilty of cyberbullying neither did he refuse at any point to not honour invitations from the Nigeria Police Force as wrongly alleged by the Force PRO. Why this false insinuation is being purveyed is completely beyond our grasp.
“Nonetheless, it is at this juncture; that we express our heartfelt appreciation to all Nigerians who stood by us throughout yesterday’s trying moment, and lent their voice to #FreeOriyomiliamat. This might not have been possible; especially this soon, without your amplification of our concerns.
“We also say a huge thank you to the general public who joined in the peaceful protests that were held in Ibadan yesterday, to Nigerians in Diaspora for their prompt reactions, the Nigerian Union of Journalists and to all of our colleagues who considered Mr. Oriyomi Hamzat’s arrest as an injury to one that equates an injury to all.
“We also appreciate the efforts of the legal team led by Barrister Adekunle Ridwan. This wasn’t just an attempt to stem the undue incarceration of a man calling for justice but also an exercise in protecting the sanctity of free speech.
“We’ll keep the general public abreast of further developments. Oriyomi Hainzat is a free man now.”
Why Hamzat was arrested -Police
In a statement on Thursday, the police said Hamzat was arrested in connection with a case of cyberbullying without stating who was bullied.
The police’s reaction was contained in a statement by its spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, titled, ‘Oriyomi Hamzat was arrested by police with warrant – Force PRO’.
The police claimed that the Ibadan-based broadcaster ignored their invitation severally, stating that the broadcaster is under investigation.
The statement read, “The popular Ibadan-based broadcaster, Oriyomi Hamzat, was arrested in Ibadan today by our Force Intelligence Bureau operatives in connection with a case of Cyber Bullying under investigation
“Oriyomi’s arrest was sequel to his refusal to honour Police invitation severally, which prompted the police to secure a warrant for his arrest.
“We are looking into the petition written against him on his violation of the Cyber Crime Act, 2015, and necessary action will be taken to do justice in the matter. Further development will be communicated to you all.”
When asked to throw more light on how Hamzat ran foul of the Cybercrime Act, the Force Public Relations Officer replied a tweep, “Go and read Cybercrime Act, 2015, because I am sure you have not seen it, let alone read. It’s even good for everyone to read it, more so that we all operate on social media, share news or broadcast what we see or hear. Go and read the Act as a guide.”