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Binniyat may step into freedom after 93 days in prison

*As judge reviews bail conditions

Having spent about 93 days in prison, the former Kaduna Bureau Chief of Vanguard Newspapers, Luka Binniyat, may be stepping into freedom on Wednesday as his stringent bail conditions were reviewed by Justice Bashir Sukola of Kaduna High Court.

Prior to relaxing the conditions, Sukola had earlier taken a 15-minute break where he advised both the prosecution team, led by Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) and defence team, Elisha Yakubu Kurah (SAN) to go and privately debate the bail conditions and report back to the court.

It was thereafter decided that bail be granted the accused with three sureties upon presentation of bank statement of not less than N10 million credit each.

In addition, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Council, is also expected to stand as a surety for the accused, a condition that was fair, compared to the initial bail bond of two sureties within the jurisdiction of the court, each with bank account with not less than N10million each as well as the originals of their international passports attached.

Many journalists from within the state and outside Kaduna were in Court in solidarity. Notable among those who thronged the hallowed court room, were the President of NUJ, Comrade Waheed Odusile, NUJ National Secretary, Shaibu Leman, Vice President North West, Comrade Yusuf Idris, Kaduna NUJ Council Chairman, Comrade Adamu Yusuf, the council’s Secretary, Dauda Doka and human rights activist, Dr. John Danfulani.

Also in court were the former chairman of the NUJ from the FCT Council Amos Dunia and Musa Simon Reef. Present also was the sitting FCT NUJ Secretary, Rafat Salami.

The Kaduna State government had dragged Binniyat to court on two-count charges over publication in Vanguard Newspapers of alleged killings of five students of College of Education, Gidan-Waya, published on 24th January, 2017.

The journalist is being charged for breach of public peace and injurious falsehood punishable under sections 114 and 393 of the penal code laws of Kaduna State.

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