Former Kaduna university lecturer remanded in prison over ‘inciting comments’ against El-Rufai
A former lecturer with the Department of Political Science, Kaduna State University (KASU), Dr. John Danfulani, has been remanded in Kaduna prison custody till 7th November, 2016, when the presiding judge will entertain his bail application.
The lecturer, who is being described as a vocal critic of the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, was arraigned before a Kaduna High Court presided by Justice Bilkisu Mohammed for ‘inciting comments’ on facebook.
When the issue of bail was raised by his lawyer, Barrister James Kanyip, Justice Bilkisu said she was too busy to entertain the application, saying she had a seminar to attend and would only be back on the 7th of November, 2016.
John Danfulani had been arraigned for the same offence by Kaduna state at Magistrate Court on 6th January, 2016, before Chief Magistrate of Court 1 (along Ibrahim Taiwo Road), Kaduna, presided by Mallam Awwalu Musa.
The state government lost the case in August, but did not appeal. Danfulani was charged in a case referenced: KDH/KAD/102c/16 against him at the State High Court; and in August, 2016, Danfulani, a political activist, had to resign his job with KASU after he was suspended for “embarrassing” Governor Nasir El-Rufai in several of his political commentaries.
In the ‘Notice to Prefer a Charge,’ signed by his prosecutors, Bayero Dari and Abdullahi Isiaka for the Ministry of Justice, the state said that the criminal charges against Dr. Danfulani fell under Section 417 and 418 of the Penal Code Law.
Danfulani was alleged to have made a Facebook post on 28th December, 2015 where, culminating into charges against him, which read, thus: “You made comments about fuel scarcity, high foreign exchange and a high number of out-of-school children in the north, with the aim at exciting hatred and contempt against the people of Nigeria.” Danfulani pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him in court.
Danfulani was then taken to Kaduna prison where he awaits trial until the return of the Judge. Before being taken away, Dr. Danfulani spoke to newsmen at the court premises and said he was being ‘persecuted’ for simply criticizing the activities of both the state and federal governments.
He added that the constitution of the federal government gave him the right to freely express his opinion on issues of governance that he was not comfortable with.