Justin Okai, a blogger in Kogi State, has been arrested on the orders of Governor Yahaya Bello for circulating reports of his alleged inflation of contracts to acquire vehicles for traditional rulers and his commissioners.
Mr. Okai, who was seized by the police in a Gestapo-style raid in Abuja on Monday, was for some reason handed over to the Kogi State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Earlier today, he was arraigned at a Magistrate Court in Lokoja on charges of falsely accusing the government of buying cars worth $12m, orchestrating rumors of the governor’s death, and inciting the public against the governor. He has also been accused of conspiracy to burn down the newly-built Revenue House in the Lokoja.
The blogger, who is a leading critic of Governor Bello, has been embroiled in fierce battles with his aides, some of whom have issued open threats to him in the past few weeks.
One of those aides, Nda Aaron, who is the special Assistant (Political) to the governor, threatened in a Facebook post to “personally go after [Mr. Okai] and deal with him. I have a friend that knows his hangouts in Abuja…I will bring Okai down.”
In another post, Mr. Aaron is quoted as saying, “If you think is (sic) a mere threat, counting it from this day, Usman Austin Okai has crossed the Rubicon.”
The Magistrate Court remanded Mr. Okai in police custody and adjourned trial to Thursday, April 13.
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