Criminal defamation: Nigeria’s opposition figure, Fani-Kayode, begs police for more time

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One of President Muhammadu Buhari’s top critics, Femi Fani-kayode, who was summoned by the police on August 20 over some criminal defamation investigations, has pleaded for more time.

In summoning the former minister of aviation and culture to report on August 28,  the Nigerian police had said that Fani-Kayode was being investigated over some alleged “criminal defamation”, “inciting publication”, “falsehood”, and “conduct likely to cause breach of peace”.

Kayode claimed in a statement released two weeks ago that world leaders had asked the Nigerian leader not to run  for re-election in 2019, but that he had rebuffed them. He did not name his source.

He said world leaders contacted President Buhari while he was vacationing in London and made the direct request to him. But he rejected it.

The request came from world leaders in Washington, London, Paris and elsewhere, he said.

The police said several statements by Fani-Kayode were threatening to throw Nigeria into chaos and invited him to explain what he knows.

But in a letter by his lawyers on Monday, Fani-Kayode told the Inspector General of Police that he would like to appear at a later date. He said he needed more time to prepare his defense.

Fani Kayode argued that the police letter to him sent on August 20 did not arrive until August 24. In that case, he does not have enough time to appear on August 28.

Why it matters: Nigerians go to the polls in February and opposition has been rising against President Buhari. Many have accused the Nigerian leader of attempting to crush the opposition to have an easy re-election.

This article was written by Simon Ateba, a renowned African journalist based in Washington DC

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