Mrs Dorcas Jolayemi, the wife of a journalist detained for criticising Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has recounted her eight-day ordeal in the custody of the Kwara State Police Command.
It was gathered that Lai Mohammed has ordered the arrest and detention of her husband, Rotimi Jolayemi, after he recorded an eight-minute audio critical of the minister and released it via WhatsApp.
The journalist was said to had spent several weeks in detention before the police charged him with “causing annoyance” and “insult” to the minister.
However, before the journalist turned himself in to the police, the minister ordered the arrest of his wife, Dorcas Jolayemi, and two of the media practitioner’s brothers, John and Joseph, who were all locked up for eight, nine and two days respectively.
During an interview with Punch following her release, Dorcas said the police arrested her after they played a recording of a phone conversation she had with her husband where she asked him to flee.
The woman said after Lai Mohammed ordered her husband’s arrest, she asked him to flee because she wanted him to be safe. She said that the head of the police division called her a “stupid woman” because of that.
“On April 29, 2020, policemen came to my house in Ilorin, Kwara State, but I was not at home. I had gone to visit my brother-in-law. I was told that when they realised I was not at home, they came to my brother-in-law’s house in a Hilux van. They were about four policemen altogether. They said they had come to arrest me and I stood up. They kept asking me where my phone was and I told them it was with my son.
“They said I must follow them to their station with my phone. Eventually, I got the phone and we left. On getting to the State Criminal Investigation Department, they began to interrogate me. They asked why I obstructed the arrest of my husband. I asked them what they meant by that.
“They asked me when last I spoke with my husband and I told them I spoke with him in the morning. They said they wanted to arrest my husband and he fled to Maro in Kwara State. They said I was the one who advised him to run away and switch off his phone. They played a recording of my phone conversation with my husband.
“Apparently, they had bugged my phone and that of my husband. I admitted that, indeed, I told my husband to run away, but it wasn’t a crime because I didn’t harbour him. I only asked him not to come home, which is what a typical wife would do.
“I heard the police wanted to arrest him and I didn’t know the reason why they wanted to arrest him. I told him to run away because I wanted him to be safe. They said for that, I would pay for it. I was brought before their boss and the man insulted me, calling me a stupid woman.
“He said I shouldn’t have advised my husband to run away. The man said I would pay for it and they took my statement. I was there from April 29 to May 6. They said it was Lai Mohammed that ordered them to arrest him.”
Dorcas said her detention was “horrible”, and that she got released when her husband presented himself to the police — a week later.
“While I was in detention, they played a recording of the poem that was recited by my husband. They asked if I could confirm if the voice belonged to my husband and I said it was his voice. They said how could my husband be insulting Lai Mohammed, a minister. They said it was Lai Mohammed that ordered them to arrest him.
“My experience in police custody was horrible. It was my older sister that was bringing food to me. I wasn’t allowed to communicate with anybody, not even a lawyer. They didn’t let me speak with my son.
“I slept on the corridor of the toilet, The place was horrible. I couldn’t sleep most of the time because of mosquitoes. I would stay awake most nights to ward off the mosquitoes.
“When my husband finally presented himself a week later, we were released. He came with a lawyer. So we signed some documents.”
The journalist is still in police custody, and the minister is yet to make a statement on the matter.