The Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ), has expressed displeasure over the bail conditions given to Luka Binniyat by Kaduna High Court. In setting the bail conditions, Presiding Justice Bashir Sukola pronounced that Binniyat is to produce two sureties who must each deposit a bank bond in the sum of N10 million. Also set as part of the bail condition is that the two sureties must deposit their international passports with the court.
The NUJ has also condemned in strong terms the continuous incarceration of the journalist, who has been in Kaduna Prison for 8 days. Vice President NUJ, South East, Comrade Christopher Isiguzo, expressed this in an interview with newsmen after visiting Binniyat in prison on Thursday.
“We are clearly condemning the incarceration of Luka Binniyat in particular and other journalists. This is quite unacceptable to NUJ. More so, when he is not been found wanting in the discharge of his duties as a journalist.
“We want to also express displeasure to conditions attached to his bail by a Kaduna High Court. We are talking about a journalist and not a criminal or hoodlum.
“He is not part of those asking people to vacate any part of the country and you are attaching such stringent bail conditions to him,” he said.
Earlier during the visit, Isiguzo assured Binniyat that NUJ family will always stand with him, adding that the entire NUJ would settle for nothing less than his release.
“The CJN and the NJC should also intervene on the judges so that they don’t continue to drag the image of the judiciary in the mud. We are, therefore, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of our colleague
“We in NUJ know how to fraternise with our colleagues. Please keep hopes alive, it’s just a matter of time before you know, you will be out of here,” he said.
Also speaking during the visit, Vice President NUJ North Central, Chief Wilson Bako told Binniyat that he should be rest assured that his persecution has made him a hero.
“The NUJ is a family and no matter where one of us has a problem, we will go there and see how we can resolve it,” he assured.
The Chairman NUJ Kaduna Council, Comrade Adamu Yusuf, said words are not enough to appreciate the kindness of the visitors.
“On behalf of NUJ Kaduna, we thank you for your time and patience to come and give us this massive solidarity. Kaduna will always reciprocate such support to you whenever the need arises, ” he said.
He assured Binniyat that after the bail conditions were announced, the state executives of the council had met and were planning to convene an emergency congress where the next line of action would be taken.
Binniyat thanked the visitors for their kindness, while urging journalists to remain strong and do their jobs without fear or favour.
Others on the visit were the Chairman Enugu NUJ Council, Comrade Rex Arum, immediate past Chairman, Kogi NUJ Council, Comrade Ali Arabor, immediate past Secretary NUJ Kaduna Council, Chief Dominic Uzu and Online Editor New Nigerian Newspapers, Jacob Onjewu Dickson.
Meanwhile, Mr. Turaki Hassan, Media Aide to Yakubu Dogara, Speaker House of Representatives, while reacting on Facebook said “the case between Kaduna State Govt and Mr. Binniyat is no case at all as the journalist didn’t publish the report on his personal website or Facebook page. It was published in Vanguard Newspaper and Vanguard was not joined as defendants in the suit. In fact , the defendants ought to be Vanguard Newspaper, the Editor of the paper and the Reporter, in this case, Luka Binniyat.
“I understand the prosecution excluded the two and dragged only the Reporter to court. If justice is to be served, the case will be dead on arrival. They can’t go into trial and convict only Luka . The court will surely ask about the medium of publication and the editors. I am also very much sure that Mr. Binniyat will have his defense which will further exonerate him. You cannot convict a reporter without the medium because he does not own Vanguard.”
The case has been adjourned to August 31, 2017.