Alleged Inciting Comment: Court Grants KASU Lecturer Bail, Adjourns Till 7th March
Chief Magistrate Court 1, sitting in Kaduna yesterday granted bail to the embattled Kaduna State University Lecturer, Dr. John Danfulani, who was remanded in police custody on Friday over an alleged inciting Facebook comment.
Danfulani was denied bail after he was detained by the police and subsequently charged to court when all efforts to grant him bail failed.
The presiding magistrate, Auwal Musa, who sat on the matter at about 7pm Friday, ordered that Danfulani be remanded in police custody till yesterday (Monday) when the case would come up for hearing.
Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to 7th March, 2016, for further mentioning by the presiding magistrate yesterday. Earlier, the prosecuting officer, Ibrahim Jameel, said, they were yet to conclude their investigation because it fell on a weekend.
“It is an investigation that would be carried out not on the streets of this town or homes of individuals but in corporate offices, and none was operational at the weekends.
“This investigation involves telecommunication and service providers whose offices are always shut on weekends. It is an investigation that has to extend to an international corporate organization, the facebook, and can only be done through the local service providers.
“We are informing this court that we are about to start our investigation today (Yesterday). We are, therefore, craving the court as earlier requested for three weeks within which we will round up our investigation.
“We also ask that the accused be remanded in police custody for the continuation of this investigation to enable the investigators easy access to the accused person in the event that he may be required to accompany the investigators to certain places.
“By so doing, we will be assured that our investigation will not be jeopardized because the subject of investigation is with us and closely monitored,” he submitted.
Responding, however, leading counsel to the accused person, Gamaliel Kore, Esq., who was accompanied by 13 other learned counsels, vehemently opposed the oral application by the prosecuting counsel for three weeks to conclude their investigation and for the accused person to be remanded within that period.
He argued that the prosecuting officer has failed to adhere to the court order given on Friday to conclude their investigation by the weekends but instead gave excuses without apology for their failure.
Arguing further, he said, ”it is not true that telecommunication operators and service providers operates 24 hours in seven days, and there is no day that calls are not made or received.
“Not obeying the court order and asking the court to remand the accused person in police custody, not even prison custody, the answer must be in the negative.
“This is an attempt on the side of the prosecutor to punish an innocent accused person for an offence he has not been convicted for.
“We submit that the fact of investigation, going by the police, has never been a factor to be considered whether to grant or not to grant bail to an accused.”
He then cited and relied on the case between Ogor and five others against Kolawole and Commissioner of Police of Oyo State of 1983 volume Nigeria criminal Law Report pages 242,350,353,354 and 357, and argued that in that ruling, which is binding, investigation is not a factor when the offence is bailable.
Kore further informed that the accused person went to the police voluntarily as a law abiding citizen. “He is not guilty of all the accusations leveled against him over an alleged publication on facebook,” adding that there will be no justice, fairness if the court grants the application of the prosecuting counsel.
“The accused person was arraigned for trial; we are ready to go on but if the prosecutor is not ready, it is only fair that the man should be allowed to go his way on bail and we shall provide sureties who are competent and reliable to guarantee the presence of the accused person whenever needed in court.”
In his ruling, magistrate Musa said, “The alleged two-count offence is bailable, ordinarily, but carries three years prison term upon conviction.
“The accused is admitted on bail to the sum of five million naira with two sureties, which must be a civil servant not below the rank of a director. The sureties must submit two passports, government identification card, certificate of occupancy, bank statement of account, genuine and verifiable address of residence.”