The Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of the Kaduna based DESERT HERALD newspaper, Tukur Mamu, has petitioned the trial Magistrate of Ibrahim Taiwo road in Kaduna, Nasiru Idris Lere Esq through the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Rahila Khoje over alleged “biased and unethical conduct” in his on-going trial before the Chief Magistrate.
It could be recalled that Tukur Mamu was arrested on the orders of the Police Headquarters on 26th October, 2010 in violation of an earlier High Court order restraining the Police or their agents from arresting him. The initial arrest prior to that of 26th October, 2010 was effected by Zone 12 of the Bauchi Police Command then under AIG Moses Anegbode based on a petition written by a traditional ruler in Yobe State against a news report published in DESERT HERALD.
The Police in the First Information Report (FIR) dated 27th October, 2010 are charging Tukur Mamu for giving “false information to mislead public servant and forgery”. They said they have concluded in their investigation that the content of Tukur Mamu’s petition to the Inspector General of Police after his first arrest in February 2010 on the orders of AIG Moses Anegbode alleging unlawful arrest, inhuman treatment, connivance with the Yobe State Government and violation of the law since he was not the author of the report in contention “was false and a diversionary tactics to cause perversion of justice”. The Police also claimed that the Excuse/Light Duty Certificate Mamu’s counsel presented to the Magistrate Court in Bauchi where he was first arraigned by the Zone 12 Police Command was forged by the accused based on the outcome of their investigation.
In the petition dated 24th November, 2011 Tukur Mamu has lamented and urged the judiciary in Kaduna to investigate the court sitting of 23rd November, 2011 because according to him the trial Magistrate Nasiru Lere is not only biased but has flagrantly violated the law by denying him his fundamental right to have a counsel that will defend him in a criminal matter. Mamu said in the petition that even his plea “for a stand down for just one hour to enable me collect the case file and go through it was out rightly rejected by the trial Magistrate N. Lere Esq. Eventually, I was subjected to enter my defence by the trial Magistrate under extreme duress, tension and severe back pain.
“It is also important for your good office to know that during the defence and out of sympathy by two lawyers (Barrister Z. Oche and Barrister Mohammed Etubi) that were in the same court separately for different matters and having sympathized with the level of persecution meted on me, asked the trial Magistrate to allow them announce appearances on my behalf but he out rightly rejected because I believe he has made up his mind to convict me with unusual speed and in violation of due process of law. And surprisingly too, all these violations of the law and denials of my right to have a counsel were in the presence and argued by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), G. B. Kore, who is supposed to guide the court on due process of the law and to advise and ensure that justice is done to all. Kore’s attitude in the court and how he takes official matters too personal makes me to wonder whether he is prosecuting or persecuting me.”
Mamu had thus urged Justice Rahila Khoje through the registrar “for a full and proper investigation of my petition to bring out the biased and partial conduct of the trial Magistrate and to transfer my case out of the Magistrate Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Nasiru Lere to any court of competent jurisdiction because I am now convinced more than ever before that I will not get justice from him”.
The accused told this reporter that the whole proceeding of 23rd November, 2011 “is funny and a deliberate attempt by the trial Magistrate to tarnish the good image of the judiciary in Kaduna. How can a responsible Magistrate, who in the past has granted so many unnecessary adjournments to the prosecution, now deny me the right to engage a new counsel that will defend me in a criminal case after I have disengaged the first counsel for reasons that have to do with my case? What is the motive behind denying me a stand down for just one hour to prepare my defence after he overruled my first application and the rejection of two lawyers that voluntarily offered to stand for me? This is ridiculous. At every sitting, the DPP, Kore apart from consistently coming late and the court will wait for him, he always gets whatever he asked from the court without hesitation. I am ready to defend myself but I don’t have confidence in the trial Magistrate”.
But in the entire record before the trial Magistrate Nasiru Lere in Kaduna, sources revealed, there is no single evidence forwarded by the prosecution on the detail investigation by the Police that established that the content of Mamu’s petition was false and diversionary while the evidence tendered by the prosecution, a reply of the letter forwarded by the Police from Yusuf Dantsofo hospital and the copy of the Excuse/Light Duty Certificate, according to Mamu, is misleading and contradictory. He told this reporter that from the record of the court, the PW1 one DSP Mohammed Gusua told the court that as the investigating officer of the case, he concluded that Mamu is guilty and that the content of his petition was false and diversionary based on the written statement he obtained from the deputy governor of Yobe State, Danlami Ali, the SSG of the state, Babagoni Machina and the Mai Pataskum, Alhaji Umaru Bubaram.
Mamu further told this reporter that “the contradiction in the desperate claim of forgery is very clear going by the record the prosecution themselves presented before the court. First they have deliberately failed to tender the copy of the letter they wrote to Yusuf Dantsofo Hospital to the court thereby concealing vital information to the court but decided to tender only the reply of the hospital. Going through the reply of the letter Yusuf Dantsofo Hospital sent to the Police, which was also tendered by the prosecution as exhibit, you will realise that the Police mischievously sort to know whether they have a doctor by the name Dr. Babaji instead of Dr. Baba. I. T as contained in the said E/LDC they tendered as an exhibit/evidence of the so called forgery against me before Nasiru Lere.
In that case, what else do you want the hospital to reply? To say they have Dr. Babaji whereas what they have and the doctor that signed my E/LDC is Dr. Baba. I. T or to guide the Police from their ineptitude or deliberate act to get the reply they want from the hospital? So the charges because they were framed cannot be prosecuted. For over one year now the prosecution succeeded in bringing only two witnesses and their conduct from the record of the court is an embarrassment to the Police and clearly portrays they are acting the scripts of Yobe State Government and precisely the SSG Babagoni Machina. The SSG should be bold enough if he is not guilty to sue DESERT HERALD for several reports of corruption the paper wrote against him. He cannot do it. He is instead following through the back door and spending the resources of our state to manipulate justice. We will never allow Machina to achieve that”, Mamu said.
As at the time of filling this report, the Kaduna State judiciary is yet to respond to Mamu’s petition but the petitioner concluded that considering the gravity of Lere’s misapplication of justice and the stand of the Chief Justice of the state, Mrs Khoje to always be fair to all and to protect the image of the judiciary, such allegations that happened in the presence of many counsels cannot be ignored by the registrar or her office.
Also in a response to the development, the Head of the Legal Department of the Protection Rights of Journalists of Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, Maitre Masaoudou Diawara told this reporter that they have fully studied the facts of the case and are now ready to take necessary action.