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Friday 11 November 2016

My Detention: What We Need To Know - Dr. John Danfulani

On Monday the 7th of November 2016 Justice Bilkisu Mohammed of Kaduna State High Court 14 of Ibrahim Taiwo Road Kaduna granted me bail. That terminated my 13 days ordeal in a 1915 colonial master's detention facility- called Kaduna Prison along Independence Way Kaduna. Her Lordship had on 26th October 2016 denied my legal counsel's verbal bail application. Justice Mohammed  premised her denial of bail on some observations made by the prosecuting counsel.

Charges slammed on me by KDSG, this time around, are not new. KDSG  merely refreshed allegations dismissed in a Magistrate Court in July of 2016. The 1960s Penal Code Sections 417 and 418 their prosecutors pillared their January 2016 case on were also cited in their 26th October 2016 suit.Police FIR and officer who investigated the matter are still the same. The only differences between the two cases are dates and years the offense was alleged to have been committed. Their first case said "sometimes in January of 2016" while the present case cited 28th December 2015.

What were the grounds The Chief Magistrate Grade 1 (Ibrahim Taiwo Road Kaduna) based his decision on? One, that sections cited by the prosecuting team no longer exist in Kaduna State because in 1999 KDSG created separate laws for the state and in those laws, sections cited don't exist. Two, that because the laws don't exist, there is no pillar to stand  their case on.

Nigeria legal tradition and that of many democratic climes holds that; if a party is not pleased with a decision of any court( with exception of the highest court of the land) such a party can appeal such decision(S) in a higher court of competent jurisdiction. Instead of filing an appeal against the July ruling of the Chief Magistrate , KDSG tabled same allegations set aside afresh in a higher court. In legal parlances, this is labeled abuse of judicial process. This is a simple cosmetic legal procedure KDSG knows. The reason for their legal misadventure is what we are still searching- and hope to find pretty soon.

 I'm sure my legal team will effortlessly establish a case of " abuse of judicial process" by KDSG because facts like proceedings and ruling of the Magistrate Court are handy. They have sundry  routes to prosecute my defense against KDSG.

Our democracy has been for eighteen years, now.Me thinks we have grown beyond this pedestrian antic of "leaders"( now aspiring rulers) using their executive powers to gagging  dissenting voices and advocates of some unpalatable philosophies. Nobody is saying leaders should not head to the court if they have alibi of illegality or unruly behavior from the led. What we are saying is, due process be adhered to, in all instances and always. Because processes are crucial on matters bordering administration of justice.  I'm afraid, people we hired to lead us  have time and again demonstrated that they are incapable of taming their concomitant dictatorial libido.

Take it or leave it, there is a growing concern that illegal kicking of assess of dissent elements is a diversionary ploy. Mandate holders  are using that to occupy people's minds with extremely mundane issues, instead of talking of their great letdowns and gross unwillingness to be faithful to the social contract entered with the people. As to how long this unfortunate situation will glow, I don't know. But there is one thing that I know; it will boomerang at their most critical moments in their political voyages.

It would appear I have enlarged the scope of the discussion by running commentary on the expectations we have on our leaders in general- instead of Mr. El-rufa'i .This is conscious because most of the State Chief Executives are operating from the same playbook. Majority  of them have harassed and jailed social commentators. And terminated promising careers of civil servants because they expressed their views on how they are being governed. It's not Mr. El-rufa'i the Governor of Kaduna State alone that has been infested with these virus of repression and suppression of opposition elements in their states. Most of them are guilty!

Lest they forget, they can't include the number of dissidents they arrested, molested and intimidated  as part of their achievements at the end of their tenures. They will be judge by the number of infrastructures, social programmes, and bridges of unity they constructed between and amongst their people. They will be judge on how they improved primarily and secondary healthcare delivery system. They will be judge by how they downsized maternal and infant mortality rates in their climes. They will be judge by agricultural policies etc.

Dr. John Danfulani

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