PROTECTION RIGHTS OF JOURNALISTS OF AFRICA (PRJA)

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PROTECTION RIGHTS OF JOURNALISTS OF AFRICA (PRJA)
                                                                                                                         27th November, 2011

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)

Justice Dahiru Musdapher (GCON)

Supreme Court Complex

Abuja, Nigeria.

Sir,

Attempts by the Yobe State Government to use Kaduna Chief Magistrate, the DPP and the Nigeria Police to persecute our member (Mr. Tukur Mamu): An urgent call for Investigation

I am writing to your good office on the instruction of the above named body recognized worldwide as a non-profit and non-governmental organisation dedicated to ensure that the rights of all journalists in Africa to practice true journalism is preserved and protected particularly in countries that practice democracy and respect for the rule of law.

Mr. Tukur Mamu, who is the publisher of the Nigerian based Desert Herald newspaper and magazine, is not only an active member of our organisation but the first Nigerian that was appointed as the Senior African Consultant on Media by PRJA. We have been following with keen interest his unlawful arrest in Kaduna on the orders of the Police Headquarters’ in Abuja in October, 2010 and his subsequent arraignment before Chief Magistrate Nasiru Lere.

Having extensively gone through the record of the court proceedings so far, what led to the arrest of Mr. Mamu, the unfolding intrigues by those that want to manipulate the law against him by all means, the desperation of the Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), G. B. Kore and the unethical and biased conduct of the trial Magistrate Nasiru Lere in the case, we are concerned that some powerful people in Yobe State Government notably the SSG, Babagoni Machina, who in the past has threatened and even attempted to kill Mr. Mamu, have successfully compromised the Police, the Kaduna State DPP and the trial Magistrate Lere in this clear case of persecution and we therefore call for intervention and investigation by your good office based on the following facts:

1)    Mr. Mamu was arrested by the Police on 26th October, 2010 in violation of a High Court order of perpetual injunction restraining the Police or their agents from arresting him. The order was granted by Hon. Justice Bala Umar. The order was obtained because of earlier arrests by the Police on the influence of the Yobe State Government and due to constant threats to his liberty and freedom. But when the restraining order was submitted before the trial Magistrate in Kaduna and the issue of lack jurisdiction to entertain a case that was earlier rejected in Bauchi Magistrate II under Sani Mohammed Esq for same lack of jurisdiction was raised by our counsel, Nasiru Lere Esq ruled in favour of the prosecution. The copy of the order is attached.

2)    In the FIR against Mr. Mamu, the Police (not the Bauchi court) are charging him for forgery of the Excuse/Light Duty Certificate his counsel submitted to the Magistrate Court in Bauchi where he was first arraigned by the Police in February, 2010 and for allegedly giving false information to the Police based on the petition he (Mamu) wrote to the Inspector General of Police on how his rights were violated, subjected to inhuman treatment by the Police, how one AIG Moses Anegbode was used by the Yobe State Government and the role of Yobe State Government in his first arrest. But throughout the record of the proceedings at the Kaduna Magistrate under Lere which we obtained, none of the only two witnesses presented by the prosecution or the prosecution prove to the court any of the allegations against Mr. Mamu. There was no outcome of the Police ‘investigation’ that proves that Mamu has given false information to mislead public servant nor has the so called forgery against him proven by the prosecution. The prosecution only tendered the reply of the letter Yusuf Dantsofo Hospital, Kaduna wrote to the Police in the court and deliberately failed to tender the content of the letter the Police initially wrote to the Hospital which makes their argument of probe unclear and questionable.

3)    Also, the Excuse/Light Duty Certificate the Police and the court in Kaduna are persecuting Mamu on is a document earlier submitted to the Magistrate Court in Bauchi when Mamu was sick and couldn’t attend the court sitting of that day and not the property of the Police but the Police in desperation to do the bidding of the Yobe State Government manufactured another E/LDC and embarked on false investigation. It is on record that the Magistrate in Bauchi which discharged Mr. Mamu never questioned the authenticity of the E/LDC submitted to it but the Police which are prosecuting the case took it upon them to investigate a document they forged all in an effort to ensure the conviction of Mamu by all means. Your good office may please investigate the records at both the Magistrate Courts in Bauchi and Kaduna and ascertain whether it is the court in Bauchi where the E/LDC that was first tendered that supposed to order for the investigation/authenticity of the E/LDC Mamu presented or the Police as interested parties in the case.

4)    In the letter the Police forwarded to Barau Dikko Hospital to verify the E/LDC forwarded by Mr. Mamu, they mischievously sort to confirm the identity of Dr. Babaji instead of Dr. Baba. I. T, the doctor that signed the E/LDC for Mr. Mamu. The hospital in its reply said they don’t have Dr. Babaji and naturally concluded that it was a forged document. That can be verified from the exhibits tendered by the prosecution in the Magistrate court in Kaduna. The name of the signatory on the E/LDC is very clear.

5)    It is also on record that Chief Magistrate Sani Mohammed Esq of Bauchi in his judgment said since the initial complaint against Mr. Mamu emanated from a complainant leaving in Potiskum, Yobe State, and the case was brought to Bauchi “this court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the case”. But Lere Esq accepted same case with minor modifications to suit the interest of the sponsors.

6)    More embarrassing to the Police, the prosecution and the trial Magistrate is the response of the two witnesses (DSP Mohammed Bukar Gasua and IPO Salisu Sani) under cross examination. From the beginning to the end of the investigation on Mamu, the Police team under DSP M. B. Gasua that investigated claims by Mamu and allegations against some officials of Yobe State only relied on the written statement given to them by the Deputy Governor of Yobe State, Danlami Ali, the SSG Babagoni Machina and the Mai Pataskum, Bubaram Bawuya to conclude that Mamu is guilty. This embarrassing confession was made by no other person than DSP Gasua himself under cross examination. The record is before the Magistrate Court at Ibrahim Taiwo road, Kaduna. 

7)    And despite the inability of the prosecution to prove in a criminal case beyond all reasonable doubt, Magistrate Lere Esq after Mamu’s counsel address the court on a no case submission, the trial Magistrate ruled that Mamu has a case to answer and demanded that he should enter his defense all in an effort to convict him unjustly. Mamu’s counsel had then demanded to re-cross examine the two prosecution witnesses but at the end Lere discharged them for reason that Mamu’s counsel arrived the court late after duly taking permission earlier to attend to Election Petition at the Tribunal.

8)    When the matter resumed on 23rd November, 2011 for the accused person to enter his defense because the Magistrate has rejected the No Case Submission earlier presented, the Chief Magistrate Nasiru Lere clearly demonstrated where he belongs to in the case. He out rightly objected Mr. Mamu’s formal request to look for another counsel to defend him having sacked his counsel and to also consider a short adjournment on health ground even though his Saudi hospital record and the recent treatment he got at Jedda were duly attached for the consideration of the court. Even a plea by Mamu for a stand down for just one hour to go through the records after he (Lere) rejected both applications and in a criminal case was denied by Lere. He insisted that Mamu must enter his defense there and then notwithstanding his health condition and the fact that he has no counsel in the court to stand for him. Efforts by two lawyers in the court (Barrister Z. Oche and Barrister M. Etubi) that came for different matters but were attracted by the unusual interest Lere demonstrated in the case to defend Mamu was rejected by the Magistrate. Despite the unlawful position of Lere insisting that Mamu must do the defense without a counsel, Mamu did very well during the defense and raised issues that cannot be ignored on the point of law and in determination of such criminal proceedings. But we at PRJA believe that the sitting of 23rd November, 2011 is illegal, unlawful and had deprived our member his right and therefore call for proper investigation on all the issues raised in our petition.              

From our findings, we are convinced that both the trial Magistrate Nasiru Lere and the DPP G. B. Kore were sufficiently bribed by the desperate SSG of Yobe State, Babagoni Machina to ensure that Mamu is convicted by every means possible.

We at the Protection Rights of Journalists of Africa strongly share your belief and concern that the judiciary must be the last hope of the common man but not as a tool of persecution and injustice and where corrupt judicial officers will be allowed to compromise the liberty, freedom and dignity of morally upright persons that are making glaring contributions to good governance in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. We are sure as our findings is revealing, investigating the activities of Judges and Magistrates like Nasiru Lere Esq will go a long way in saving the good image of the Nigerian judiciary and will save many innocent souls that are voiceless from unjust prosecution.

We hope your good office will dispassionately look into our complaint and ensure that due process of the law takes it course as we are ever ready to defend our members provided justice above personal or selfish interest will prevail.

We hope this glaring case of injustice will receive your prompt attention. Please accept the highest regard of the President and the Secretary General of PRJA.

Best Regards.

Yours sincerely,

Maitre Masaoudou Diawara

Head of Legal Department

 

 

CC:

       The Attorney General and Minister of Justice

       Abuja, Nigeria.

 

      The Chief Judge

      Kaduna State, Nigeria.

 

      The Inspector General of Police

      Lius Edit House

      Abuja, Nigeria.

 

      The National President

      NUJ, Nigeria.

      The Executive Governor

     Yobe State, Nigeria.

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