The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked the Kaduna State Police Command to release the National publicity secretary of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union Mr. Luka Biniyat, immediately.
HURIWA said the reported detention for over five days of Biniyat on the alleged order of the State Commissioner for internal security on the accusation of defamation, amounted to an abuse of power.
Recall that the Kaduna State commissioner for internal security Mr. Samuel Aruwan had on Sunday alluded to his role in the detention of Biniyat in a briefing he gave to journalists in Kaduna.
Reacting to the development, HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, faulted the resort to self-help by Aruwan for purportedly deploying the services of the Kaduna State Police Command to clamp into detention someone he accused of defaming his person instead of following the due process of law.
HURIWA also argued that the principle of the rule of law makes it incumbent that he who alleges must prove his allegations in the competent court of law and not through what seemed like the manipulation of state security apparatus to pursue personal matters.
The organization quoted the Black’s Law Dictionary, to have affirmed that “Defamation” means “Holding up a person to ridicule, scorn or contempt in a respectable and considerable part of the community; maybe criminal as well as civil”.
HURIWA asserted that defamation is the unprivileged publication of false statements which naturally and approximately result in injury to another. A communication is defamatory if it tends to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him. The meaning of a communication is that which the recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably understands that it was intended to express. It is important to note that Libel and Slander are both methods of Defamation, the former being expressed by print, written pictures or signs: the latter by oral expressions or transitory gestures Defamatory Statements may consist of libel (written publication) and slander.”
“According to a plethora of decided cases, it has been held that in order to succeed in an action for Defamation, a plaintiff must prove that the libel or slander has been published, that is communicated to some other person or persons other than the plaintiff himself. See UGO V. OKAFOR (1996) 3 NWLR (PT. 438) 542 AT 560”, HURIWA asserted.
“The 1999 Nigerian constitution clearly states that persons arrested or detained shall be brought before a court within a “reasonable time”. According to the constitution, the reasonable time means a period of 24 hours when a court of competent jurisdiction is within a radius of 40 kilometres to the police station or a period of two days in any other case.”
HURIWA, therefore, is demanding the immediate release from illegal police detention of Mr. Luka Biniyat since the plaintiff himself decided to take the law into his hand rather than follow the due process of the law by personally instituting either a civil or criminal case against the Defendant and accord him all the rights and privileges of fair hearing as provided for by the Grund Norm of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.