Court Grants Bail to Two Journalists Remanded in Police Custody


Chief Magistrate Ibrahim Bello of Magistrate Court 17 Gyadi-Gadi in Kano State, on  February 14, 2013,  granted  bail to Yakubu Musa Fagge and Mubarak Muhammad Sani of Wazobia FM as well as another person, Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim.

The sum of N100,000 (about US$637) was paid with two sureties provided for each of the journalist, one of who must be a community leader or head of the organisation in which they are working.

On February 12, 2013, Chief Magistrate  Bello ordered their continued detention when they were brought before him.

The journalists were arrested on February 10, 2013 for allegedly inciting violence by saying on a radio show that polio immunisations were an anti-Islam Western conspiracy to cause infertility in women.

The two  journalists  were remanded in police custody over a seven-count charge, including criminal conspiracy, abetment, inciting disturbance, intentional insult, defamation of character, obstruction of public servant in discharge of his duties, among others.

The accused persons had a week earlier aired a programme called  ‘Sandar Girma’ on Wazobia FM, Kano where the producer of the programme, Yakubu Musa Fagge, gave an account of how their reporter was manhandled by aides to a traditional title holder who rejected polio vaccinators from vaccinating his children.

Coincidentally, two days after the programme, nine female polio vaccinators were killed by unknown gunmen.

This led to the arrest of the journalists, along with the Head of Programmes at  Wazobia FM, Malam Muhammad Sulaiman Gama, who was however released soon after.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The journalists’ defence lawyer, Musa Adamu Aliyu, applied for bail for them, citing relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution and previous court decisions on the issue of bail.  But the police prosecutor, Sergeant Sadiq Na-Abba, urged the court not to grant them bail as the police were still investigating the case.

Chief Magistrate Bello ordered that accused persons be remanded in police detention for the next two days, pending his ruling on the application of bail. He added that they should be given unconditional access to their families, their lawyers and all other constitutional guarantees.