A student of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, has reportedly spent 54 days of detention in police custody for setting up a Twitter parody account of the former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Parody accounts are permitted by Twitter and are often named after prominent individuals but mainly used for comic purposes relative to unfolding issues in the sociopolitical space of their subjects.
According to Punch, Babatunde Olushola was arrested on May 23, 2020 after the former president filed a complaint with Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police, who would later mobilise for his arrest.
Tope Akinyode, a human rights lawyer, was quoted to have said that the policemen obtained information on Olusola’s call log record from a telecommunications service provider.
As his call history linked him to his uncle, who happened to be a pastor in Ogbomoso, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) made the clergyman invite him for arrest.
Olushola was thereafter taken to Abuja where he was charged for impersonation and contravening the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act of 2015.
“I was informed that it was one of the aides to former President Jonathan that saw the account. Jonathan immediately reported to the IG and that was how investigations began,” Akinyode said.
While calls for Olusola’s release have increased on social media over the past few days, his bail was fixed at N500,000 and a civil servant of not less than level 15 is expected to stand as his surety.
“Olusola has no parents and has not been able to meet the bail conditions hence his continued detention. However, we believe he will be out soon,” Akinyode added.
For parody, Twitter’s policy requires that bios clearly indicate the user isn’t affiliated with the subject and that the account name shows the user isn’t the same person as the account’s subject.
On Olusola’s Twitter page, which has now been suspended, the ex-president’s photo can be seen with the name “Goodluck E. Jonathan”.
The user however informed his 46,400 followers that the account was a parody one with his profile reading, “BrezzisLife, not GEJ.”
Olusola was said to have used the account to make inciting comments about Jonathan’s wife, Dame Patience Ebele Jonathan.