Again, court adjourns hearing of journalist ‘threatened’ by El-Rufai

Governor Nasir El-Rufai
Governor Nasir El-Rufai

Hearing of the case involving journalist, Stephen Kefason, who was allegedly threatened by Kaduna governor, Nasir el-Rufai, was on Wednesday adjourned again at the instance of the court.

Mr Kefason,who was arrested in late May, has been detained since over allegations of criminal defamation, injurious falsehood, and disturbance of peace brought against him by a local government chairman in Kaduna State, Cafra Caino.

He is accused by Mr Caino of spreading falsehood against him on his social media accounts which allegedly “breached the peace of Mr Caino and that of Kajuru local government headed by Mr Caino.”

According to the charge sheet seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Kefason was accused of inciting the people of Kajuru against Mr Caino through a post made on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The posts reportedly suggested that Mr Caino engaged in lavish birthday partying “while bandits and other attackers forced his subjects in Kajuru to flee their homes and suffer in refugee camps.”

Mr Kefason was arraigned on June 13 and denied an initial bail application, while subsequent attempts have been hampered by repeated adjournments, his lawyer, Gloria Ballason, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Before the scheduled hearing on Wednesday, the matter had been postponed on September 26, at the instance of the court, Ms Ballason said.

Further ordeal

She added that Mr Kefason is also facing a separate trial at a Magistrate court, on similar allegations brought against him by the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

According to a publication of the Punch Newspaper, Mr El-Rufai had threatened legal action against Mr Kefason over a Twitter post by the latter which the state governor described as false.

Mr Kefason’s Twitter account and Facebook have since been brought down, allegedly at the request of his prosecutors.

The social media journalist had also been arrested on May 8 and arraigned at the Magistrate Court on accounts of Messrs Caino and El-Rufai’s complaints.

He was however granted bail on May 13 but rearrested after state prosecutors asked his surety to produce him, Ms Balllason told PREMIUM TIMES.

A prosecution counsel, Dari Bayero, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview he would not comment on a matter already before the court.

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Mr El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, demanded a text message from this reporter when contacted by phone regarding the matter.

He, however, did not reply the text messages sent to his phone line.

Mr Caino denied any knowledge of Mr Kefason as a journalist. He demanded evidence of Mr Kefason’s journalism as a condition for further comment when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Kefason’s fundamental rights suit is scheduled for hearing on Thursday, Ms Ballason said.

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