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Police arraign journalist detained over report on minister

Tom Uhia has also filed an enforcement of fundamental human rights suit against the minister and the police for illegally detaining him without trial for 30 days


The police have finally arraigned Tom Uhia, publisher of Power Steering newspaper, who was detained by the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Area 10, Abuja over a report critical of the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba.


The 73-year-old journalist was arrested October 13 following a petition dated July 1 by a lawyer, Obi Nwakor, on behalf of the minister.


He was eventually arraigned before Justice A. B Mohammed of the FCT High Court 19, Gudu, Abuja on Monday.


Mr Uhia was accused of defaming Mr Jedy-Agba by claiming the minister had knowledge of the Dana plane crash of 2012 while serving as a senior manager with the Nigeria Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).


The magazine also accused the minister of wrongdoing during his days at the NNPC.


He ought to have been arraigned a long time ago, but he was made to spend 30 days in illegal detention. His family said the publisher, was critically ill but was not also permitted to see his doctor.


Various right groups and the Nigeria Union of Journalists pressured the police to do the needful within the ambit of the law.


On Monday, the police filed a 15-count charge bordering on defamation and injurious falsehood.


The journalist’s lawyer, Paul Ogbole, applied for his bail on his health condition and for sake of justice.


he prosecutor, O. Danjuma, however, opposed the application. But Justice Mohammed said Mr Danjuma did not show a good reason for Mr Uhia to remain in detention when he was charged on a bailable offence.

He, therefore, granted Mr Uhia bail in the sum of N2 million. He is also to provide a surety who is a level 15 officer with the federal civil or public service.


The matter was, thereafter, adjourned till December 10 for hearing.


One of the lawyers representing the journalist, Alexander Oketa, told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday that the bail conditions have been met and Mr Uhia will regain freedom today.


In the same vein, an enforcement of fundamental human rights suit filed by Mr Uhia against the minister and the police will come up today at FCT High Court 17 Maitama, Abuja before Justice Peter Affen.


The publisher is asking for N110 million from the police and the minister for illegally detaining him without trial for 30 days.

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