Mr. Luka Biniyat, the Kaduna State correspondent of the privately-owned daily, Vanguard newspaper was on February 6, 2017 arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Kaduna on charges of falsifying a news report about the Southern Kaduna crisis. Luka was accused of falsely claiming, in a news report published by Vanguard newspapers on January 24, that Fulani herdsmen killed five students of the state College of Education.
He drove to the State Security Service, (SSS) Kaduna Command at about 10a.m. local time to honour an invitation for questioning by the agency. After interrogation, he was handed over to the police who charged him to court.
The Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf, granted Luka bail on a N200,000 bond and a surety in like sum. The surety must be a resident possessing landed property with a Certificate of Occupancy within the jurisdiction of the court and posse a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. He was however taken to the Kaduna Prison and expected to return to court on February 7 to fulfil his bail terms.
A security source reportedly said Luka’s report was totally false: that no attack took place; that there was no student in the State College of Education named James Joseph and that the school does not offer Mass Communications, among other accusations. The source reportedly added that Luka’s report compounded security situation and created tension that almost plunged Southern Kaduna into another cycle of killings.
Luka denied the allegation, saying he had his facts and source. He added: “My problem now is that the state government is now focusing on my person rather than looking at the organization that published the alleged story, Vanguard Newspaper, which is my Principal. I expected them to have been joined in the suit but everything is, ‘You Luka Binniyat’, but I’m not discouraged by this as I’ll continue to put in the best in my profession as a journalist.”