A Kaduna-based journalist accused of publishing a false report was on Monday, February 6, 2017 sent to prison upon failing to perfect his bail conditions.
The journalist, Luka Binniyat, a correspondent of Vanguard newspapers, was interrogated on Monday by operatives of the secret police, the State Security Services, SSS, before he was handed over to the police.
He was then arraigned before a magistrate court sitting in Kaduna on the allegation of falsifying a report on January 24, 2017, purporting that five students of Kaduna State College of Education were killed at a road block erected by Fulani herdsmen along Gidan Waya-Pasakori road in Jema’a Local Government Area.
“The report compounded security situation and created tension that almost plunged Southern Kaduna into another cycle of killings but for the prompt response by security agencies, traditional and religious leaders,” a source with knowledge of the case said.
“He fabricated a name of a student (James Joseph) as among those killed, falsely claiming that the student was a native of Kurmin Musa village in Jaba Local Government.
“Kurmin Musa is in Kachia Local Government. Binniyat also stated in his report that James Joseph is a student of Mass Communication in the institution.
“Immediately, security agencies embarked on thorough investigation to the institution and the area the purported attack took place and Kurmin Musa village. There was no single student that was killed; there is also no Mass Communication course in the College of Education. Our findings in the village revealed that there is no student known as James Joseph. And the area in question is in Kachia and not Jaba Local Government Area. In a nutshell, everything reported in the story was found to be false.
“It was for all these that he was investigated and handed over to the police and they have taken him to the court.
“We cannot allow anybody to use the constitutionally protected right of a free press to fabricate stories that promote panic, further divide people, intensify strife and cause a breakdown of law and order.
“It is based on these issues, that he was charged to court for diligent prosecution.
Nobody is above the law, and we will not relent in our duties of protecting the lives and property of the citizenry.”
The Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf, granted Mr. Binniyat bail to the tune of N200,000 and a surety in the like sum. He said that the surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and posses a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, covered with a Certificate of Occupancy.
Mr. Binniyat was escorted to prison at about 4:15 p.m. upon failing to complete his bail terms.