After spending 93 days in incarceration, Kaduna-based journalist, Luka Binniyat’s bail conditions were relaxed by a judge, Bashir Sukola, of the Kaduna High Court 10 on Monday.
The former Vanguard Newspapers reporter is standing trial for alleged false publication brought against him by the Kaduna State government.
Prior to relaxing the conditions, Mr. Sukola had earlier taken a 15-minute break whereby he advised both prosecution counsel, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) and defence counsel, James Kanyip ”to go and privately debate the bail conditions and report their deliberations to the court.”
It was thereafter decided that bail be granted to the accused with two sureties upon presentation of their bank statements of not less than N10 million each.
In addition, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Kaduna State Council, is also expected to stand as a surety for the accused, a condition that was considered fair compared to the initial bail bond of two sureties ”within the jurisdiction of the court, each with bank accounts with not less than N10 million each as well as the originals of their international passports attached.”
In an interview with journalists, outside the courtroom, wife of the accused journalist, Gladys Binniyat thanked God that her husband was finally going to breathe the air of freedom.
She described his absence for over three months as a big setback for the family, especially the younger children.
“The children really missed their father, especially the last two, but the older ones understand what is happening, especially based on what they have been reading on the social media,” she said.
Ms. Binniyat said that as a housewife, who is unemployed, his absence brought a whole new chapter to their lives. She appreciated his friends, family and colleagues for supporting the family all through.