The Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora (SOKAD) U.S.A, has called on Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai to stop what they described as the intimidation of their people.
In a statement signed by Fremman Kamuru (President), Danlami Ngboze (Secretary General) and Saidu John (Financial Secretary), the group said it has observed, with serious concerns, the violation of the free speech rights of prominent professionals from Southern Kaduna by the current administration.
” Dr John Danfulani is one notable victim and on February 6, 2017, Mr. Luka Binniyat of Vanguard Newspaper was locked up, for doing his duty as a journalist, on trumped up charges that he “made a circulatory publication on newspapers and social media containing falsehood statements capable of breaching the public peace”.
“Mr Binniyat is a professional Journalist who is dedicated to excellence in reporting, including investigative reporting for which he has been recognized.”
“Not surprising, the Nigerian Union of Journalist strongly condemned the gross violation of his rights with the illegal detention and reminded the state that such cases are civil requiring legal process not arrest,” the statement said.
The group added that in a democratic state, any government that understands the basic rules for good governance must respect the rights of individuals to live and work freely, especially journalists.
“A free and vibrant press is essential for the proper functioning of true democracies. If the Vanguard Newspapers and its management for whom Mr. Binniyat works were not charged, the employee should not either. His case comes up for hearing on February 21; SOKAD hopes that the state will drop the case against him with an apology for infringing on his basic rights.”
“The solution to the killings in Southern Kaduna is to arrest and persecute the killers and their sponsors, not to intimidate journalists, media, and critics. This is hardly the way to make Kaduna great again.”