By Southern Kaduna Professionals
It’s no longer news that Luka Biniyat ha been incarcerated and now in jail despite his poor health. What was supposed to be a normal court procedure became a charade of the highest order as the judge after the hearing ordered that Luka be remanded in prison until the 20th of July. The judge, by keeping Luka in the prison walls definitely is acting a script carefully put together by Elrufai who is desperate to prove a point that he is Lord of the law and has power to twist our Nigerian constitution to suit his purposes.
Kaduna State, under the leadership of El Rufai has degenerated to an all time low. At the slightest provocation, he deploys executive powers given to him through a mandate. He has mischievously transformed this power into an instrument of coercion and oppression to humiliate and torment citizens of the State, particularly those of the southern extraction, the very same people whose votes he sought to be so elected governor today. These are the same people he seeks to humiliate and it appears to be a hobby and his favorite style.
Months ago, Luka Binniyat was charged to court for publication a story that turned out to be false. He was misled by someone who manufactured the story for purely selfish and pecuniary reasons. It was purely a game plan by the person in question in other to take advantage of his employer and to extort money from him. The employer, as soon as he realised that the story was false, turned his staff to the police and he quickly offered an apology to the government and retracted the story. The governor insisted and had his way with law enforcement agencies until the employer was docked and spent days in prison.
Elrufai’s naivety and blatant disregard for law and due process, led him to arrest and prosecute journalists, lawyers and academics mainly those of them from southern kaduna whom he perceives to be his enemies. Their crime is that they are reporting events in the State as they unfold. This is clearly a manifest breach of fundamental human rights and disregard for the rule of law. El Rufai’s clamp down on journalists and their subsequent arrest, detention and prosecution violates the very basic principle of justice as enshrined in our grand norm. Why should El Rufai arrest and prosecute Luka Binnayat the reporter of the story without prosecuting the carriers of the story which is Vanguard Newspapers?
Let’s not forget that on the 27/07/2015, El Rufai, accompanied by the Deputy governor filed a case in the State High Court against The Union Newspaper for reporting his asset declaration falsely.
If the governor can sue a whole Publication company without suing the reporter who reported the story, why is he prosecuting of Luka who merely reported the alleged killings at the College of Education Gidan Waya without prosecuting Vanguard, the Publishers?
Meanwhile, Luka Biniyat, upon the discovery that the story wasn’t as accurate as he was made to understand, made attempts to call the editor but failed as each time he called, the editor had excuses for him. Undeterred, he sent a text message to the editor asking that the story be stepped down. Yet, Vanguard Newspapers went ahead to publish the story. So the question remains, why is Luka prosecuted while the editor and the publishers are walking about free? Is there something sinister between the governor and Vanguard Newspapers?
It clearly shows that the governor is carrying out vendetta and demonstrating that he has an axe to grind with Luka by insisting, that he must be punished for daring to take on the person of El Rufai and his administration. If the intention was good and altruistic, he ought to have dragged Vanguard news Papers to the court and not Luka Biniyat as he did in the case of Union Newspapers.
Meanwhile, governor El Rufai, speaking to Channels TV reporters vowed to prosecute and arrest anyone who peddles and circulates false stories about the unfortunate crisis in Southern Kaduna that led to wanton destruction of lives and property. If he was sincere in his outburst, why has he not apprehended and prosecuted Alh. Haruna Usman who deliberately misled the public and lied by giving a press text to journalists that 17 herdsmen were killed in Dalle, Kariyo village of Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State? The Army came out with a public statement issued out by Deputy Director, Army Public relations Col. Kingsley Umoh to disproof Alh Haruna’s claim. Today, Alh Haruna is a free man and boldly walking down the streets because he has the protection of his kinsman, governor El Rufai.
Very recently, a group of miscreants converged in Kaduna and issued the Kaduna declaration asking Southerners to vacate the North by 1st October. Weeks have passed by after the Kaduna declaration, the culprits and perpetrators of hate speech are still and enjoying the protection of the State Governor. They are traversing the length and breadth of this country as free men. Clearly, without equivocation, we can say there are two sets of rules for two sets of people.
Equity and equality is what leaders strive to bring to the society and they make sure they provide equal playing ground for everyone without discrimination irrespective of ethnic, political and religious affiliation. Leaders should not be found manipulating the justice system to witch hunt individual citizens. El Rufai has failed this basic test.
Luka Biniyat, by his arrest and detention has become a victim of human right abuse and his fundamental human rights grossly trampled upon for simply carrying out his professional duties.
What could be more unjust than seeing how the governor of a state using state might to abuse the mandate freely given to him by the people to suppress and crush the very same people he swore to protect and uphold their dignity?
We urge the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai to abandon his despotic approach and embrace a more tolerant approach in handling very sensitive issues such as those that pertain developments in southern Kaduna. We seek the immediate release of Luka Biniyat and any other victim of free speech who are presently facing frivolous and trump up charges preferred against their persons. We insist that due processes must be followed always in handling cases and we abhor the manipulation of law enforcement agencies and judges by the governor. He is a democratic leader and not a tyrant. El Rufai can still tow the path of honour now by releasing the journalist so that he can adequately take care of his failing health.
Southern Kaduna concern professionals