The Ondo State government has said it will not oppose the bail application of Kemisola Ogunniyi, the 18-year-old who recently gave birth in custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Ondo State Command, 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.
The statement read: ”My attention has been drawn to the news item widely circulated on social media since the 17th of June 2021 in respect of Kemisola Ogunniyi, a defendant in an ongoing criminal trial before the Ondo State High Court, who recently delivered a child while in remand and awaiting trial.
“The facts of this case will not be discussed in the public domain in view of the pendency of the matter before the court; this is because any pronouncement of this office in respect of the facts of the case may prejudice the mind of the court.
“However, preliminary investigations into the status/progress of the case shows that, Kemisola Ogunniyi was arrested along with 3 (three) other suspects, by the Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, during the curfew imposed in Ondo State to curb the riots that took place in the wake of the EndSARS protest in October 2020 at the premises of a property set ablaze during the protest. Kemisola Ogunniyi did not disclose to the Police that she was pregnant when she was arrested.
“After investigations by the Nigerian Police, Legal Advice was duly issued that a prima facie case was established against her and Charges were subsequently filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against Kemisola Ogunniyi and three other defendants at the Ondo State High Court, Akure.
“The case has since come up twice before the High Court, Akure. However, the hearing of the case was stalled due to the industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union Nigeria (JUSUN) which was called off about 7 days ago.
“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.
”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.
”lt was on the 17th of June 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 17th of June 2021, the Attorney General of Ondo State and Commissioner for Justice, met Tope Temokun Esq on the 18th of June, 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.
“Kemisola Ogunniyi 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.”
According to Ogunniyi’s lawyer, Tope Temokun, her client 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.
Ogunniyi was said to be about two months pregnant when she was arrested along with three others on October 22, 2020.
But after giving birth on Wednesday, many Nigerians took to social media, particularly Twitter, to campaign for her release.