#EndSARS: Ondo govt confirms moves to release 18-year-old detainee who gave birth in prison

The Ondo State government said Sunday that it is making moves to ensure the release of 18-year-old Kemisola Ogunniyi, who recently gave birth in prison in Akure, where she has been detained for months in connection with last year’s #EndSARS protests.

Charles Titiloye, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said this in a statement on Sunday, confirming the hope expressed by her lawyer on Saturday that she would be released on Monday.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Ms Ogunniyi was arrested by soldiers after the violence that erupted in the wake of the October 2020 #EndSARS protests.

Her lawyer, Tope Temokun, had said she was randomly picked up on the streets of Akure last year for allegedly having connections with persons who torched the All Progressive Congress (APC) secretariat in Akure, Ondo State, during the nationwide #EndSARS anti-police brutality protest last year.

She was said to be about two months pregnant when she was arrested along with three others on October 22, 2020.

Those with whom she was arrested were Ayodele Bukunmi, Ojo Samuel, and Ani Obinna.

They were subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit arson, riotous assembly, stealing and malicious damage, and later remanded in Surulere Prison in Ondo West local government area of the state.

The Ondo State government subsequently arraigned them. They have since been kept in pretrial detention in Akure prison.

After giving birth on Wednesday, many Nigerians took to social media, particularly Twitter, to campaign for her release.

On Thursday, her lawyer, Mr Temokun, wrote separate letters to the Ondo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Titiloye, and Chief Judge, Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, demanding her release.

The lawyer said Saturday that he met with Ondo State attorney-general whom he said expressed passionate interest in ensuring Ms Ogunniyi’s release without delay.

He also said he similarly got “good assurances” from the office of the Chief Judge in respect of his client’s matter.


Kemisola Oguniyi

Attorney-General confirms move to release Ms Ogunniyi

Mr Titiloye, in a statement seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, said the state is committed to the release of Ms Ogunniyi who gave birth to a baby boy in prison on Wednesday.

The official, who noted that the detainee did not disclose her pregnancy status at the time of her arrest last October, said his office is facilitating her release.

Ondo State government will not be opposing the fresh bail application filed by her lawyer, Mr Temokun, Mr Titiloye said.

He also confirmed meeting with Mr Temokun on Friday in talks over the new mother’s release on bail.

“This office is aware that the offences with which Kemisola Ogunniyi was charged are offences for which bail may be granted by the court and she is entitled to a counsel of her choice who has the duty to file an application for bail before the court.

“It is worthy of note that, at the previous sittings of the court, counsel to two of the four defendants had filed applications for bail.

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“However, no information was placed before the Court then about the pregnant status of Kemisola Ogunniyi and no application for bail was brought before the Court by her counsel.

“It was on June 17, 2020 that the office of Attorney General was served a bail application by a new counsel (Tope Temokun Esq) engaged by Kemisola Ogunniyi.

“Consequent upon the application for bail dated the June 17, 2021, the Attorney General of Ondo State and Commissioner for Justice, met Tope Temokun Esq on June 18 , 2021 and arranged that Kemisola Ogunniyi be released on bail without any opposition from the prosecution so that she can take care of her baby from home,” part of the statement read.

He also said that “criminal trial is pending before a Court of competent jurisdiction and hopefully with the intervention of Ondo State Government through the office of Attorney-General and Chief Judge of Ondo State, she will be released on bail shortly.”

#EndSARS protest

Many young Nigerians had marched against police brutality in October 2020.

The protest tagged #EndSARS later turned violent after it was hijacked by hoodlums who looted and destroyed stores, homes, warehouses, as well as private and public property, in different parts of the country.

Soldiers brutally shot at young protesters who gathered at Lekki Toll gate in Lagos, in a desperate move to end the peaceful demonstration.

PREMIUM TIMES recalled that many Nigerians were arrested randomly in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

This newspaper on Thursday reported that a protester, Nicholas Mbah, regained his freedom on Tuesday after spending eight months in Kirikiri prison in Lagos.

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