After 22 days in detention for criticising governor, Nigerian blogger gets bail


A Nigerian blogger has been granted bail after he was detained for 22 days for a blog post.

Jamil Mabai was arrested on September 19 by the police for a post on his blog where he criticised the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, for buying coffins with public funds despite owing workers salaries.

On Wednesday, Mr. Mabai was granted bail by Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court, after spending time at the central prison in Katsina.

The blogger’s lawyer, Job Israel, said his client expects to be freed later on Wednesday having met the bail conditions.

“We are just trying to fulfil the bail condition now but it is a very light one. He just needs a single surety and the bail bond is sum of N60,000.

“That is if he jumps bail, the surety will have to pay N60,000,” he said.

He said his client still expects the state ministry of justice to file charges before a competent court after a magistrate court declined jurisdiction.

“It could be one or two weeks or even months because it is a High Court that just granted him bail based on the applications we filed.

“But for now he will be on bail that is the greatest relief,” Mr. Israel said.

Jamil Mabai is a known critic of the Katsina administration led by Aminu Masari on his blog, Cliqq Magazine. metal-coffins

A Magistrate Court in Katsina declined jurisdiction to try him. The judge instead asked that he be further detained.

Mr. Mabai’s arrest is believed to have been ordered by the governor, a claim the latter’s spokesperson denied.

The police, however, said they arrested the blogger based on a complaint by the state government. Two other bloggers arrested with Mr. Mabai, Bashir Dauda and Umar Faruq, were released after about a week in detention.

They were all accused of writing about the story with the intent to cause civil disturbance and expose Mr. Masari to public ridicule.

A family friend of Mr. Mabai told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor was not happy with his post condemning the purchase of 3,000 metal coffins for distribution to mosques in the state.

Mr. Mabai said by purchasing the coffins, Mr. Masari is simply saying “Katsina people deserve to die”.

He also questioned the rationale behind buying the coffins at N40,000 each at a time the government was unable to pay civil servants outstanding arrears of salaries.

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  • omoyooba

    Hai! Nigeria!

  • abodes_124

    Next the dss will raid his house for issues ‘bordering on national security’

  • newday

    pathetic governor.

  • Ben Ikari

    Nigeria is still deeply backward in most areas of governance, life and in terms of law enforcement personnel, the police being used as tool to arresting someone illegally. The police is often used to bully and arrest the innocent just because someone not limited to a governor, politicians, the rich or a family member asked officers to make such arrest without a warrant from a competent court. In civilized societies the police has no right to just arrest someone especially a journalist or blogger because of complaints. Anyone including government officials to wit governor, other politicians or the president who has grievances or feel someone publish articles that assassinate their character hence libelous will go to court. That is aggrieved persons prepare their case papers or files and hire the service of lawyers not police to file civil lawsuit. The state to wit justice department can also file criminal lawsuit against persons accused with evidence of violating the criminal code, not that the police can just wake up one morning or return from break, even while on night shift and proceed to arrest someone without a court warrant, but mere complaint by the government or governor and any other individual. Meanwhile, the true test of publication considered libelous will be whether the publication reveal what is true that actually took place and can be verified with evidence or exhibits. On the other hand, the question will be whether the alleged libelous publication cause or capable of causing harm to the persons mentioned. Overall, truth is all one needs to publish what may be considered libelous and be protected by law if what’s published actually took place in the terms or fashion described or relative to the action and those mentioned are the actors. Truth supersedes harm caused the accuser(s). Anyone who does wrong against other persons including a governor who allegedly used state funds to purchase irrelevant items such as coffins when no one dies and families didn’t say they can’t purchase any to bury their loved ones, when salary arrears are owed workers already expose himself or herself to ridicule. A blogger who helps spread what has been created by these actors if story is true shouldn’t be jailed but praised for exposing funds mismanagement in an austere period. Sadly, Nigeria is still that place where the police can be called to arrest anyone, and politicians use officers to intimidate and arrest opposition and critics without due process of the law.

  • Es3

    That the better ‘DEMONcratic’ change that Buhari/APC promised the gullible Nigerians that believed them.

    It is good that some of them are beginning to taste the “goodness” that come with that “change”?!

    • George

      oHH yes Goodness that comes with their chosen changi.

      My Lord Told me that anyone and everyone that brought this changi upon the Nation Nigeria will suffer for it.

      Wonderful changi has arrived it served him very well.