Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to release a Facebook user, Mubarak Bala, who was detained for alleged blasphemy.
Bala was arrested in Kaduna on February 28 for allegedly making blasphemy post about Islam and spent 11 months in detention at the Gbabasawa Police Station in Kaduna State.
He was detained at the station on the instruction of Kano State Police Command.
One of his lawyers, Ibrahim Buba, said his client was arrested over a petition written by some Kano-based persons, alleging that he insulted Prophet Mohammed.
Buba, who confirmed from the Kano State Commissioner of Police that the applicant was in his custody, visited the command headquarters on May 4 but was stopped from seeing the commissioner.
In the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed at the court, the IGP, the Nigeria Police Force and the Attorney-General of the Federation were listed as respondents.
However, in his ruling on Monday, Justice Ekwo declared Bala’s arrest and detention by the police as an infraction of his rights to personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thought, expression, and movement.
He said: “The denial of the applicant access to his lawyers constitutes a gross infringement of his right to a legal representative of his choice under section 34 and 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution.”
He ordered the police to release the applicant from detention immediately.
The judge also ordered the police to pay the sum of N250,000 as general and exemplary damages to the applicant.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
SPECIAL REPORT: Shell’s inaccurate data raises questions around efforts to control methane emissions in Nigeria
Much worse for the environment than carbon dioxide, despite global efforts to control methane, emissions continue soaring. With over a...
FEATURE…Missing Rig Workers: Tragedy, Injustice and the Depthwize cabal
The serene landscape of Ovhor in Delta State bore witness to a disaster that shook the nation’s conscience. The capsize...
FEATURE… In the shadow of kidnappers: The story of Nigeria’s albatross
For decades, Nigeria has been grappling with a problem that has threatened the safety and stability of its people: kidnapping....
FEATURE: The falling standard of education in Nigeria today: Whose Fault?
Over the years, education has proven to be the fulcrum facilitating national development in any state. Through education, knowledge is...
INVESTIGATION: Failed multi-million naira constituency water projects litter Sokoto communities
Many rural communities in Sokoto State are at the risk of an outbreak of diarrhea and other diseases due to...