Islamic Cleric Arraigned for Alleged Hate Speech, Granted Bail

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Sheikh Idris Abdulaziz
Islamic cleric of Dutsen Tanshi Jummaat Mosque

On May 16, 2023, a Chief Magistrates’ Court in Bauchi, admitted Sheikh Idris Abdulaziz, an Islamic cleric, of Dutsen Tanshi Jummaat Mosque in Bauchi, to N1 million bail bond with three “credible sureties” in like sum after he was detained and later arraigned for alleged hate speech. Some Islamic organisations led by Fitiyanul Isla had accused the Islamic cleric of hate speeches against other prominent clerics in the state as well as against Prophet Muhammad whereupon, the Bauchi State Police Command issued an invitation to him to appear at the police stateion. When he honoured the Police invitation, he was arrested and charged to Court over the allegation..

Some Islamic Organisations led by Fitiyanul Isla had accused the Islamic cleric of hate speeches against other prominent clerics in the state as well as against Prophet Muhammad whereupon, the Bauchi State Police Command invited him. He had honoured the Police invitation and was subsequently arrested and charged to Court over the allegation.

Abdulaziz was initially arraigned before the court on May 15, by the Police on one-count charge of public disturbance and inciting public unrest.

Ruling on his bail, Chief Magistrate Abdulfatah Sekoni said considering the status of the cleric, one of his sureties must be his District Head; the second surety must be a Permanent Secretary with the Bauchi State Government, who is to provide a Certificate of Occupancy of a landed property values not less than N5 million; while the third surety should be a religious scholar, who must be Sheikh Abdulaziz’s colleague.

The court also ordered the cleric and his sureties to submit their recent passport photographs and other means of identification.

The Chief Magistrate said when it was first brought before it, the court had not obtained the full facts surrounding the case hence the cleric was remanded at the Bauchi Correctional Centre, to enable the court to study the First Information Report (FIR) and the circumstances surrounding the case. He said having meticulously gone through the case, it was ideal to grant him bail as to do otherwise will amount to injustice.

Counsel to the Bauchi State Ministry of Justice, Barrister Aliyu ibn Idris had earlier applied that the office of the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice is going to take over the prosecution of the case from the Police, which the Presiding Chief Magistrate allowed

Chief Magistrate Abdulfatah Sekoni thereafter adjourned the case to May 24, 2023, for hearing.