Thursday, February 22, 2024

Blasphemy: Bauchi Woman Released After 19 Months In Prison

After an imprisonment of about two years for alleged blasphemy in Bauchi state, Rhoda Jatau, a Bauchi woman, who condemned the alleged killing of Samuel Deborah in Sokoto State, has finally regained her freedom.

She was released on bail Friday and has reunited with her family following an intervention from civil society organisations, family members and religious bodies.

Her bail has been confirmed by her husband who has refused to speak on the issue and has denied access to her by journalists, for now.

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It was gathered that her bail application brought by her lawyer, Joseph Danboyi, was heard and granted by Justice Fatima Jibrin of a high court in Bauchi.

According to sources, as soon as she was released, Rhoda left Bauchi for Gombe State.

International rights group, Peace Building and Social Justice, posted on its X platform, saying, “Jatau has been held in prison for 19 months for condemning the murder of a young schoolgirl Deborah Samuel over alleged blasphemy. She is a Christian and a mother of five.”

The group also indicated that “Rhoda’s next hearing is still scheduled for the 19th of December 2023, we need to raise our voices and demand her unconditional release.”

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Just before her release, the Executive Director of the Centre for Information Technology and Development, Bauchi, stated in a statement that Jatau was picked up on 20th of May, 2022 at her residence by the Nigerian Police Force on the allegations of alleged incitement and inciting public disturbance.

According to CITAD she was denied bail on several occasions.

“The Police action was based on their perception of what her message could do. However, immediately after sharing the post, she was arrested and taken into custody.

“Her bail was consistently denied, and she has been held behind bars ever since. This is not just an injustice to Rhoda; it is an attack on the digital rights of every citizen in this country,” it stated.

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Signature TV is a multi-media company, owners and operators of signaturetv.org and producers of The Signature Show on AIT and Corruption Tori. Our programmes are broadcast on the AIT Network and on Seven NTA stations across the country. We are content providers for a number of television networks and some State TV stations, with a respected 24/7, high online and offline followership. We are also Communications/Media Consultants to MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation and OSIWA.

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