The Nigeria Police Force has arraigned the young Editor of NewsDigest, Abuja-based online newspaper, Gidado Yushau and an award-winning campus journalist, Alfred Olufemi before a magistrate court in Ilorin, Kwara State.
They were arraigned over a petition from a company owned by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Finance and Economy, Dr. Sarah Alade for publishing an investigative report on hemp-smoking workers in her factory.
The investigative report, ‘Inside Kwara factory where Indian hemp smoking is legalized’, was authored by Olufemi, a student journalist.
According to the report, Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industry, one of the groups of companies owned by the former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alade, tolerated the smoking of cigarettes, as well as Indian hemp by workers within its vicinity.
Police operatives earlier arrested the platform’s professional webmaster, Adebowale Adekoya, in Lagos and Yushau in Abuja before taking them to Ilorin for further questioning.
Alfred voluntarily submitted himself to the police later in Ilorin.
However, on Tuesday, Gidado and Alfred were charged with criminal conspiracy and defamation.
The First Information Report (FIR) obtained by PRNigeria claimed that the duo “criminally conspired to tarnish the name and image of Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industries”.
Both Yushau and Olufemi pleaded not guilty.
The Chief Magistrate of the Court, A.O Muhammed, released the defendants on the ground of recognition and that they are innocent until proven otherwise.
The conditions of bail include two sureties each, who are relatives of the defendants with a bail bond of N200,000.00.
The case was adjourned for hearing until January 13.
Earlier, Shuaib and Adekoya were detained and subsequently released by the Kwara State Police Command after being quizzed.