SaMBA demands immediate release of SOKAPU spokesman

Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai

A group, Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA), has asked the Kaduna state government to release the spokesman of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Luka Biniyat, without delay.

The group in a statement issued in Abuja Friday by its spokesperson, Prince Rwang Pam Jnr., condemned the continuous detention of the journalist, wondering “how a Nigerian citizen could be detained for two months in a civil matter.”

The statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to the continuous detention of the spokesman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Luka Biniyat, for the past two months on the orders of a Magistrate’s Court in Kaduna on trumped-up charges filed by the governor.

“It is shocking and alien to democratic traditions that a matter that ought to be civil in nature is twisted into a high-profile criminal case traceable to terrorism and, therefore, brought under the terrorism prevention Act.

“There is no doubt that the Kaduna state government is using its DPP to haunt and use the Judiciary in persecuting its perceived enemies.

“The SOKAPU spokesman was arraigned before the Magistrate’s Court on an initial offence of injurious falsehood which is ordinarily bailable; however, when the bail application was moved before the Magistrate, the Kaduna state government through its DPP quickly filed charges of Internet stalking, etc, under the Terrorism Prevention Act that is not ordinarily bailable.

“This move was clearly targeted at keeping Luka Binnyat in prison until his application for bail is heard by a superior court.”

It, therefore, called on the state government to “quickly refrain from the current persecution of Luka Binnyat and allow him to enjoy his liberty as provided for by the Nigerian constitution until such a time that such liberty is taken away at the conclusion of his trial if any.”