By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA – Kaduna state government yesterday formally took over the prosecution of Kaduna State Correspondent of Vanguard newspaper, Mr. Luka Binniyat from the Nigeria Police. This development took place at the Kaduna Chief Magistrate Court 1, Ibrahim Taiwao Road, Kaduna presided over by Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Yusuf.
The case which was adjourned from the February 21st 2017 to yesterday was being handled by a police prosecuting lawyer – a Deputy Superintendent of Police – S O Suleiman. The case was between Kaduna State Police Commissioner Versus Luka Binniyat. The case which ought to have come up for hearing yesterday, but in a surprise move, Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Barrister Bayero Dari appeared in court.
“I am here to take over the case as the prosecutor,” he told the bench. “With this, the police has handoff the case. I shall need more time to study the investigation carried by the police since they have finished investigation,” he announced.
Counsel to Luka Binniyat, Barrister Samsom Bemu, when asked by the bench if he had any objection, said he had no problem with that. The case was then adjourned to the April 6th 2017. The charge before Binniyat reads: “On the 22nd day of January, 2017 report at the disposal of the Commissioner of Police Kaduna State reveal that, you Luka Binniyat ‘m’ of No. 7 Peter street Ungwar Boro Kaduna State, a journalist, made a circulatory publication on newspapers and social media containing a falsehood statements capable of breaching the public peace.
“Whereby you stated that five (5) students of College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kafanchan were ambushed and shot dead by herdsmen somewhere close to Gidan Waya amongst other injurious statements which you know and believed very well that it was not true. An intrigue to cause feud among the peoples living within Kaduna State thereby committed an offense punishable under section 393 and 113 of the penal code law of Kaduna State 1991.”
The Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf had on the 6th of February granted Mr. Binniyat bail to the tune of N200,000 and two surety in like sum.
The Journalist who was unable to meet up the bail condition, had to spend a night in Kaduna prison until his bail was met. Mr. Audu Maikori, Chairman, Chief-Executive, Chocolate City, who was the source of the story to Binniyat had tendered a public apology on the 3rd of February saying he regretted misleading Vanguard and the general public. According to Audu his driver, Samson Joseph, had told him the story passionately, claiming his kid brother was a victim. It turned to be a hoax. The driver had invented the story to seek for financial assistance from Audu in the guise of organizing a funeral for his brother, Audu had claimed in widely broadcast apology and in the social media. Binniyat is among three of Journalists and two other social critics dragged to court by the government of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai largely over alleged “inciting” publications and comments