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HURIWA seeks release of journalist, Luka Biniyat, after 63 days in detention

By Bertram Nwannekanma
07 January 2022   |   2:48 am
Rights group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday called for the release of detained Global Spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Comrade Luka Biniyat.

[FILES] Detention. Photo; FORBES

Rights group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday called for the release of detained Global Spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Comrade Luka Biniyat.
 
Biniyat, a journalist, was detained at the maximum-security prisons in Kaduna, for alleged defamation and at the instance of the  Kaduna State Commissioner for internal Security, Samuel Aruwan. 

   
He was alleged to have quoted Senator Danjuma La’ah, the Senator representing Southern Kaduna in the National Assembly but the senator denied making the comments he was quoted to have said in the said publications.
   
HURIWA in a statement endorsed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, raised an alarm regarding the detainee’s health, stressing that his wife, who visited him, yesterday, in prison confirmed that he was critically ill.
  
The group called on Governor Nasir El-rufai to call his commissioner to order to stop using the Kaduna State judiciary to illegally detain the Kaduna born frontline International journalist over a civil matter of alleged libel against the person of the aforementioned Commissioner, who incidentally hails from the same Southern Kaduna State and is also a trained journalist like the illegally incarcerated journalist.  
 
It said:  “We call on the Kaduna State House of Assembly to ensure that the life of this illustrious son of the state is not endangered in any way by any reactionary elements whilst he is being illegally detained without bail for 63 days over a mere civil related cause of action which, ordinarily shouldn’t be subjected to official manipulation.”
 
According to HURIWA: “On 3rd November 2021, a complaint was made to the Kaduna State commissioner of police, alleging that a news story, authored by Luka in the Epoch Times, a US-based magazine, defamed the complainant. 
 
“The police then arrested Luka, the next day, 4th November on charges of injurious falsehood and defamation. 
 
In the First Information Report (FIR), after Luka was arrested and before charging him to court, he was charged with cyberstalking according to section 24 (b) of the cybercrime prohibition prevention act of 2015. Luka subsequently was detained in three different police facilities including the notorious CID cell where he passed through very dehumanising conditions.
 
“Luka was taken to a magistrate court in Barnawa on the 9th and then on the 10th of November.”