Southern Kaduna Voices

Luka Binniyat: 63 days today behind Bars

On 3rd November 2021, a complaint was made to the Kaduna state commissioner of police, alleging that a news story, authored by Luka in the Epoch Times, a US-based magazine, defamed the complainant. The police then arrested Luka, the next day, 4th November on charges of injurious falsehood and defamation.   In the First Information Report (FIR), after Luka was arrested and before charging him to court, the complaint was changed to cyberstalking according to section 24 (b) of the cybercrime prohibition prevention act of 2015.Luka was taken to a magistrate court in Barnawa on the 9th and then on the 10th of November. Luka’s lawyers applied for his bail while the police prosecuting lawyers opposed it. On 10th November when his bail was denied, he was transferred to the Kaduna prison from the Police cell in Gabasawa.  On 22nd November, he was brought to court but the judge didn’t turn up, so he was locked up at the Kakuri police station. On 23rd November, he was brought to court again and all parties made their submissions. Luka’s lawyers argued that because cyberstalking is not within the jurisdiction of a magistrate court the court was illegally detaining Luka on a case it has no power on. The police prosecuting lawyer opposed it, saying they have sent their report to the state ministry of justice and are still waiting for legal advice.  The Judge then gave 6th December for the bail hearing. But he didn’t come on that 6th. He said he started his annual leave on the 1st of December. He now gave a new date of 29 December for the bail ruling. But on the 29th of December, the judge didn’t come to court while Luka wasn’t even brought to court too.  Lukas’s lawyers then concluded plans to apply to a higher court, but while Luka was in prison, the state filed the case at a state high court and served him the papers in prison. So, 63 days today Luka is still in prison, waiting for his first appearance at the state high court where the case would be starting afresh and the bail application starting afresh.63 days today!  Reuben Buhari