Wife of Borno politician who lost pregnancy in police custody gets bail

Nigeria Police
Nigeria Police on patrol

The Maiduguri Division on Borno State High Court on Monday granted bail to Sa’adatu Muhammad, wife of Borno politician, Grema Terab.

Also, twenty other associates and family members arrested by the police alongside Ms Muhammad were each granted bail at N100,000 each, Mr Terab told PREMIUM TIMES.

The decision came a month after Ms Muhammad was arrested at her residence in Maiguduri. The police accused her of not reporting a murder that allegedly occurred outside her home during a political meeting convened by her husband.

The police also said they warned Mr Terab, a Peoples Democratic Party governorship aspirant in Borno, not to hold the April 15 political gathering at his residence because it could turn violent, a warning the politician allegedly defied.

But Mr Terab told PREMIUM TIMES earlier this month that the police’s account was grossly inaccurate and challenged them to produce evidence to back it. He said he wrote the police that the event would take place at his residence and officers were provided to maintain order.

Mr Terab, a former head of Borno State Emergency Management Agency, also said the event had ended and his supporters had largely departed his residence before some suspected political thugs arrived and caused mayhem.

Ms Muhammad, who had been pregnant for two months, had a miscarriage a day after being thrown in police custody amidst harsh conditions.

The police said they had court order to hold her in custody until appropriate bail was secured, adding that doctors certified her fit to be kept in custody even after losing her pregnancy.

Her detention was condemned by civil rights activists who said the police were wrong to detain her for not reporting a crime. The police described her offence as ‘criminal negligence’ and also detained some other family members who were at home at the time.

Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and national chieftain of the PDP, condemned the arrest as undemocratic and an abuse of power.

Mr Terab left Maiguduri shortly after the violence broke, accusing the police of being on a mission to frustrate his political ambition.

But Borno police commissioner, Damian Chukwu, fiercely rejected the notion that the arrest had any political motives.

After several adjournments that saw Ms Muhammad languish in what her husband described as “filthy police cells”, she was granted bail on Monday.

The judge, Abdullahi Sanya, set N100,000 bail for Ms Muhammad and each of the 20 other associates and family members held in custody. They were also to produce a surety each in the like sum with affidavit of means.

Each of them also submitted two passport-size photographs. That they will attend all court hearings on the case and report to Court Room 9 every Friday until the final determination of the case.

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people” Mr Terab quoted Martin Luther King in a victory statement he sent to PREMIUM TIMES. “We remain grateful for your show of courage in the face of injustice and the tyranny of the oppressors.”

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