Journalist Arrested for Reporting Christian Persecution in Nigeria

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Mr. Luka Binniyat
Freelance journalist

On November 4, 2021, Mr. Luka Binniyat, a freelance journalist and spokesman for the people of Southern Kaduna, was arrested by police officers in Barnawa in Kaduna State over an article he wrote in The Epoch Times in which he criticized the Kaduna state government’s response to the killing of Christians. He has subsequently been arraigned and is being held in custody.

The journalist was arrest because of the article he wrote and was published in the Epoch Times on October 29, titled “In Nigeria, Police Decry Massacres as ‘Wicked’ But Make No Arrests,” in which he described the slaughter of Christian farmers in Nigeria at the hands of Fulani militants. He quoted Senator Danjuma Laah as saying that Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, had been involved in concealing facts around a “genocide against Christians in the Southern Kaduna State.”

At a press conference in Kaduna Mr Aruwan complained about the publication and disclosed he had reported to the security agencies to carryout thorough investigation into the report.

Luka was arraigned at the Barnawa Magistrate’s Court in Kaduna on November 9, 2021 and charged with cyberstalking, a charge that has been found to be often used in Nigeria to silence the critics of government. He was denied bail.

He was accused of cyberstalking Aruwan, an offense that has kept the journalist from being granted bail. While still in detention, Luka sent an SMS where he expressed fear for his life, saying he felt like his life was in danger.

On November 23, the Magistrate Court denied Luka bail for the second time and adjourned the matter to December 6, 2021.

Luka was the former Kaduna State correspondent of the privately-owned daily, Vanguard newspaper.