Kaduna journalist on trial for alleged false report released from prison after meeting bail conditions

Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 8 February 2017 | 1,826 times

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The journalist arraigned before a magistrate court in Kaduna on allegation of falsifying a news report about the Southern Kaduna crisis has been released on bail.

Luka Binniyat, a Vanguard newspaper Kaduna correspondent, was accused of falsely claiming that five students of the state College of Education were killed by Fulani herdsmen. The report was published on January 24, 2017.

The Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf, had on Monday 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 posses landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, covered with a Certificate of Occupancy.

Mr. Binniyat, who was invited for questioning by the Department of State Security (DSS), Kaduna Command, drove himself to the DSS office at about 10am on Monday.
After interrogation he was handed over to the police, who later charged him to court.
He was remanded in prison custody as he couldn’t immediately meet the bail conditions.

Mr. Binniyat, however, met the bail conditions on Tuesday and was released at about 1:30 p.m.

Speaking at the court premises before being taken to the Kaduna Prison o Monday, Mr. Binniyat denied the allegation, saying he had his facts and source.

“My problem now is that the State Government is now focusing on my person rather than looking at the organisation that published the alleged story, Vanguard Newspaper, which is my principal. I expected them to have been joined in the suit but everything is, ‘You Luka Binniyat’, but I’m not discouraged by this as I’ll continue to put in the best in my profession as a journalist,” he said.

A security source, however, said the journalist’s report that five students were killed at a road block erected by Fulani herdsmen along Gidan Waya-Pasakori road in Jema’a Local Government Area compounded security situation and created tension that almost plunged Southern Kaduna into another cycle of killings.

The journalist was accused of fabricating a name of a student (James Joseph) as among those killed, and saying the student was a native of Kurmin Musa village in Jaba LGA.
The source also said that Mr Binniyat stated in his report that James Joseph was 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 LGA. In a nutshell, everything reported in the story was found to be false,” the source added.

•Photo shows Luka Binniyat fielding questions after his release from prison custody on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Mordecai Funom S. Ibrahim.

Source: News Express

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