Court orders police to release detained Abuja publisher, Inuwa Bwala

Inuwa Bwala

A Borno State High Court has ordered the immediate release of Abuja based publisher, Inuwa Bwala, who was two weeks ago arrested by the police and detained in Maiduguri for alleged attempted murder.

Justice Hadiza Jos of the Borno State High Court Number 14 said it was unlawful for the police to detain an accused beyond two days without trial.

The judge also faulted the police for detaining Mr. Bwala despite his health condition, saying that the matter for which he was being charged does not warrant such treatment.

The publisher, who was detained alongside his driver, was in court to challenge the police for breaching their rights, for which they are demanding a N2 billion compensation.

Mr. Bwala, a former commissioner for home affairs, information and culture, was picked on his way to his office in Abuja by a police squad deployed from the Borno State command; and taken to Borno where he was detained without trial.

The Borno State police commissioner, Damian Chukwu, said Mr. Bwala was arrested in connection with the attempted murder of the state deputy governor, Usman Durkwa, who was attacked during the 2015 election when he was serving as a commissioner.

Mr. Durkwa was beaten to stupor by a mob that left him unconscious.

Mr. Durkwa sued five persons including Mr. Bwala as those that wanted to kill him.

Mr. Bwala, who insisted that he was not in his hometown, Marama, when the attack on the deputy governor was carried out at the place, denied the allegation.

The health condition of the former commissioner, a diabetic, reportedly relapsed while he was locked up in the police cell and denied access to his medication.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, the lead council to Mr. Bwala, Zanna Hamza, said the publisher and his driver, Muhammed Audu, are asking the court to compel the police to release them, apologise and grant them a N2 billion compensation for damages.

“The application was filed on the 24th of January, 2017 and it was taken on Friday, because it was an exparte”, the lawyer said.

“And then this morning Her Lordship granted order ordering the police to release the applicant, that is Inuwa Bwala and his driver, Muhammed Audu, pending the hearing of the originating of the originating summon which is for 7th of February, 2017”.

“The applicants are seeking to impose their fundamental human rights. The police went to Abuja and bundled him and his driver, they brought him to Maiduguri, and put them in a police cell, they denied him access to his medication, because he is diabetic and hypertensive.

“While in their custody, Mr. Inuwa’s hypertensive state shot up to over 200 plus; while his diabetic symptom went to 8 plus.  He was almost collapsing, when the police doctor rose alarm that ‘this man will die in our hand; lets rush him. They took to the state specialists hospital, they said there was no bed space, and then they had to rush him to the University of Maiduguri Teaching hospital.

“As we are speaking right now, Inuwa Bwala is still on the hospital bed where he is getting medication, and managing the diabetic crisis, due to the long period of time he could not take his medications, which the police denied him.

“One of the reasons Her Lordship ordered his release was because of his ill health”, Mr. Hamza said.

“We are coming back on the 7th of February for the hearing of the substantive application, and among what we are demanding is a declaration by the court that his arrest and continued detention for this period of time without framing charges was unconstitutional, illegal and null.

“We are also seeking for an apology to him from the authority and also a damage of N2 billion.

Mr. Bwala and his driver, were not in court as at the time the court pronounced the order for the police to release them.

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