Gov. El Rufai ‘persecuting’ our members — Nigerian Union of Journalists

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has warned Governor of Kaduna State Nasiru El-Rufai against “persecuting journalist in the state”.

The warning came following the trial of a journalist, Luka Binniyat.

A Kaduna State High Court on Wednesday remanded Mr. Binniyat, a former reporter with Vanguard Newspapers, over allegations of false publication brought by the Kaduna State Government.

The government says Mr. Binniyat’s report in Vanguard in February falsely claimed that five students were killed at a road block erected by Fulani herdsmen, compounding the state’s already poor security situation at the time.

Authorities said the journalist fabricated the name of a student (James Joseph) as among those killed, and claimed the victim was a student of Mass Communication in the state College of Education.

During the ruling Friday, Mr. Binniyat, who had reportedly been involved in an accident walked into the courtroom with the help of crutches.

The presiding judge, Bashir Sukola, ordered his remand nonetheless.

The journalist will be staying in jail till July 20 when the ruling on his bail application will be taken.

A statement issued on Saturday by Shuaibu Leman, national secretary of NUJ, accused the governor of being behind Mr. Binniyat’s travails.

Mr. Leman described the governor’s actions as “clearly aimed at his perceived political opponents which ridiculously include the media”.

The statement said as a result of the governor’s “intolerance” for criticisms and “aversion” for the media, many journalists in the state were being persecuted by the government.

“We are terrified by the remanding of Binniyat in prison custody because of his health challenges. He had an accident and came to court on clutches to answer the summons but instead of being in hospital, he is now behind bars. The NUJ will hold Governor Nasiru el Rufai fully responsible if anything mysterious happens to Binniyat in prison,’’ the statement said.

It asked the governor to attend to the problems of Southern Kaduna rather than intimidate and threaten journalists doing their legitimate work.

Samuel Aruwan, senior special assistant to the governor on media and publicity, did not respond to calls, e-mails and WhatsApp messages sent to him on Friday.


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  • Yego V

    What were you expecting of the proud midget. He clearly sees his phantom dream of becoming a president going down the drain. Humans are having difficulty dealing with him, God is not.

  • pheliciti

    But did journalist actually publish an inciting but false story and is he being handled in accordance with the law?

    • Frank Bassey

      “is he being handled in accordance with the law?”. He is deemed innocent until the Court pronounces otherwise. Throwing a Journalist in that state of health condition into detention does not show justice and fairness which the law aims at. Again, editor of Vanguard newspaper whose imprint is in the paper ought to have been arraigned as well because by signing off the edition, he alluded to the veracity of the stories contained therein. That does not in any way justify professional rascality on the part of the Journalist.

      Nasir El-Rufi is a specialist in publishing falsehood. He did that during President Jonathan’s administration on the amount spent to mark Nigeria’s 100 years of existence. He also published similar falsehood recently, claiming that Jonathan enriched PDP-governed states from the ecological fund to the exclusion of others. More Southern Kaduna indigenes, probably, have been killed under his administration than in previous governments put together. Kaduna NUJ should fight him to finish. He has no monopoly to arrogance.

      • pheliciti

        Sorry, that El Rufai did it, (if indeed he did) does not justify another person writing and publishing falsehood.
        Second, he is held pending bail hearing. If the adjourned date is too far, his lawyers know what to do. And if they believe the State High Court is under El Rufai, they can apply to Federal High Court.
        We should stop raising political emotions to justify bad behaviour.

        • Frank Bassey

          Nobody is justifying bad behaviour. But when a leader fails to live by example, and consistently too, I can’t see the justification for this preachment.

  • Shahokaya

    What did the NUJ did to the hate monger journalist that wrote the false story to incite violence and killings?

  • Aminu Baba

    They allowed Binniyat to indulge in incite-full reporting that in the end proved false. You did nothing to caution him against this clear unprofessional conduct yet you have temerity to cry wolf when the bad guy is duly prosecuted by the governor. If they have enough conscience and patriotism in them, I think the right thing NUJ should do is to commend governor El-Rufai and not further embarrass themselves with this shameless outburst in “turf protection”