illegally detained for one year in Nigeria
Nigeria is indeed fortunate with a federal constitution that guarantees basic human rights.
It also contains rules for the application of fundamental rights designed to ensure “better access to justice for all categories of litigants, especially the poor, illiterate, ignorant, vulnerable, prisoner and the unrepresented”. Every person, from the common man to the police, politicians, lawyers, courts and the president, has a solemn duty to ensure that the rights of every citizen are protected and to act quickly when a citizen is infringed on his rights.
But in Nigeria, what you see is not what you get. Mubarak Bala, president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested on April 28, 2020 for posting on Facebook a message criticizing the Prophet Muhammad. One might think that Bala has a right to his opinion about the Prophet of Islam, and one might think that the Constitution guarantees his right to express his opinion. But everyone is entitled to their opinion, so when SS lawyer Umar complained that Bala’s post is racist (which could violate the Cyber Crimes Act) and could provoke public unrest (which could violate Articles 210 and 114 of the Criminal Code), the Police are obliged to investigate the complaint … After an investigation, the police could file a complaint if they felt it necessary to respond, or release the suspect. If charged, the court will decide whether the suspect is guilty and what punishment should be imposed on him.
After a year in detention, Bala was not brought before a court and his lawyers were not informed of the charges against him.
The constitution requires the police to bring charges against a suspect within 24 hours (48 hours under certain circumstances). If this is not done, the police are obliged to release the suspect on bail or without it. Then, 24 hours after Bal’s arrest, he was detained illegally. But there was much more. Bala was held incommunicado for over six months. He was not allowed to see his family or lawyers. In fact, for six months, his family didn’t even know if he was alive or dead. The right to legal representation of choice is another constitutional right that he has been denied.
On May 8, 2020, Bal’s lawyers petitioned the High Court of Abuja, complaining that he was denied a number of basic rights. According to the rules for the application of fundamental rights, such cases must be considered within 7 days. Due to evasiveness and deliberate delays, Bala’s case was not tried until October 19, and a decision was not made until December 10, seven months after the petition was filed. The court ordered the federal and Kano authorities to release Bal “immediately and unconditionally”.
Today, a year after Bala’s arrest and more than four months after the release order, he remains in prison.
Under the current administration of Nigeria, the obligation to protect rights has been blatantly ignored. We receive a violation of due process and a denial of fundamental rights in favor of protecting our religious beliefs. Bala was illegally arrested not because he caused harm, but because his opinion is not liked by those in power.
Many players; the police, politicians and courts conspired or were intimidated to take away Bala’s rights, but the two men have the power to fix it. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Bukhari and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduja allowed this parody of justice to take place under their supervision. Both of these men swore to God to uphold the Constitution, and both broke their solemn promises.
May these people stop this misery that is embarrassing Nigeria around the world. Fix it, release Mubarak Bal now.
You can make your voice heard. Please tweet these men and tell them what you think. Bukhari is @ MBuhari; Ganduje – @GovUmarGanduje.
Source: – atheistalyans
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