Home News HURIWA Condemns Police Abduction Of Abuja Publisher To Borno

HURIWA Condemns Police Abduction Of Abuja Publisher To Borno


By Chibuike Nwabuko, Abuja

A pro-democracy and civil rights group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Monday, condemned the recent abduction of an Abuja-based journalist and publisher of National Trail, Inuwa Bwala, by police from Borno State, who transferred Bwala to Borno State.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, claimed that HURIWA was reliably informed by its members in Borno State that Bwala may have been picked up on a trumped up charge because of his newspapers’ relentless expositions of alleged horrendous heist of public fund by Borno State government officials.

It would be recalled that Bwala, who was a former information commissioner under the immediate past Borno State administration, doubles as the Media Assistant to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s factional National Chairman in Abuja.

HURIWA, in a statement from Abuja, further alleged political undertones in Bwala’s current travails in the hands of the police command of Borno State, who were mobilised by the Borno State government to go to Abuja to abduct the only known critic of the current Borno State government, who has a quantum of information on the financial transactions of that administration, which in any case has political differences with the principal of Bwala (former Governor Alli Modu Sherriff).

“HURIWA lamented that the police hierarchy currently in Nigeria has begun a terrible manhunt of media practioners, who are suspected of exposing alleged maladministration,” the statement read in part.

HURIWA also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpodum Idris, to halt his current witch-hunt of media practioners, who are only fulfilling their constitutional duty as enshrined in Section 22.

The Section reads: “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”.

Specifically, HURIWA has demanded for the immediate release or immediate arraignment of Bwala in the court of competent jurisdiction.

“His prolonged detention violates Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution,” the statement added.

Bwala, according to the release, has been in detention for nearly four days since he was abducted in Abuja, and bundled to Borno State.

HURIWA also reminded the police of the import of Section 35 of the Constitution, which implies that Mr. Inuwa Bwala must be charged to court within 24 hours or freed unconditionally.

Specifically, Section 35 (4) (5) states as follows: “Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time…”

“(5) In subsection (4) of this section, the expression “a reasonable time” means -(a) in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometers, a period of one day”.

HURIWA recalled that newspapers reported that the Borno State Police Command arrested and detained Bwala, an Abuja-based newspaper publisher, for alleged attempted murder.

“Mr. Bwala, a former Borno State Commissioner of Information, is accused of the attempted murder of the current Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa.

“But from investigations, HURIWA found out that he may have been picked because of his media-related activities, such as exposing corruption in Borno State, or for his loyalty politically to the People’s Democratic Party – a faction of which Inuwa’s erstwhile political boss is the self-acclaimed national chairman,” it said.

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