The Wuse Zone 2 Chief Magistrate’s Court in Abuja on Thursday freed Deji Adeyanju on bail, two days after the political activist was arraigned on a petition filed by Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai.
The bail terms set by Idayat Akanni, the magistrate, included two level-12 civil servants and N500,000 bond.
Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Mr Adeyanju’s friend, told PREMIUM TIMES Ms Akanni’s conditions were “somewhat liberal”, and were immediately met within minutes.
“Everything is now in order, he has been released and we have driven off to a restaurant for celebration,” Mr Atoye said. “This was a victory for democracy, one which was attained not only through the remarkable perseverance of Mr Adeyanju but also the resolve of Nigerians not to cave in in the face of tyranny.”
Mr Adeyanju, a former Peoples Democratic Party strategist, was arraigned before Ms Akanni on Mr Buratai’s charges of defamation incitement and cyberstalking on November 4. In a hearing which lasted a few minutes, the magistrate ordered Mr Adeyanju be remanded at Keffi Prison, about 40 minutes drive from Abuja, until November 6 when his application for bail would be heard.
The police filed the charges against Mr Adeyanju based on a petition from Mr Buratai, which said the political activist has used his social media accounts to promote Boko Haram insurgency and dampen the moral of Nigerian troops on the frontlines. cyberstalking, defamation and incitement.
There were initial reports that the police may prosecute Mr Adeyanju for aiding terrorism, this appeared to have been abruptly dropped for a more civil matter.
Still, precisely how Mr Buratai was affected by Mr Adeyanju’s social media conduct was not discussed when the matter was first heard on Tuesday or at the bail hearing today.
Ms Akanni adjourned further hearing on the matter to January 27, 2019.
Mr Adeyanju’s arraignment before Ms Akanni comes hours after he was freed from the prison in Keffi after fulfilling bail conditions set on a separate trial brought by the police. But the police laid a siege around the prison, arresting Mr Adeyanju as soon as he emerged and holding him in their custody until arraigning him at about 4:38 p.m. on November 4.
It was on November 28 that the police first arrested Mr Adeyanju and two others and arraigned them on allegations raging from public disturbance to criminal defamation.
The activists were holding a protest to demand strict neutrality of security chiefs, whom they accused of exhibiting over partisanship ahead of general elections next February.
Police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood said Mr Adeyanju’s activities on social media, which portrayed the institution and its leaders in bad light, have been documented and would be used as exhibit in his trial.