21 April 2017

Nigerian Journalist Arrested, Detained

The Kaduna State correspondent of the Leadership Newspapers, Midat Joseph, has been arrested by the police.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that he was taken away in the early hours of Wednesday from his house in Kaduna and was first detained at the Metro Police Station before he was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department, CID, on Thursday.

Unconfirmed report says Mr. Joseph has been moved to Abuja.

The spokesperson of the Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Usman, confirmed the arrest when contacted by this newspaper but refused to give further details.

He said the journalist was being investigated.

Mr. Joseph, who is also the Chairman of Correspondents chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ, Kaduna council, was arrested for an alleged offence not related to his reportorial job.

A source told PREMIUM TIMES that the journalist and some others were allegedly discussing issues relating to the funding of arms import for the defence of the people of Southern Kaduna but unknown to them they were being recorded.

The police reportedly considered their action "inciting."

"What he did does not relate to him as a journalist. He was arrested over a very serious issue with evidences gathered," the source said.

Efforts by members of the state council of NUJ to secure Mr. Joseph's bail were unsuccessful.

The journalist's arrest occurs about two months after another journalist was arrested for work related matters.

Two months ago, Luka Binniyat, a Vanguard newspaper Kaduna correspondent, was arraigned before a magistrate court in Kaduna on allegation of falsifying a news report about the Southern Kaduna crisis.

He was accused of falsely claiming that five students of a college of education were killed by Fulani herdsmen.

The report was published on January 24.

Mr. Binniyat, who was invited for questioning by the State Security Service, SSS, Kaduna Command, drove himself to the SSS office at about 10 a.m. on a Monday, and after interrogation was handed over to the police who later charged him to court.

The Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf, granted Mr. Binniyat bail on a N200,000 bond, and a surety in like sum.

He said the surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, covered with a Certificate of Occupancy.

Recent findings indicate that Mr. Binniyat has been asked to proceed on compulsory leave while a new reporter has been deployed to take over from him.


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