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Blogger Arrested For Criticising Governor Still In Detention

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Jamil Mabai

Jamil Mabai, a blogger who was arrested last week for allegedly writing a controversial blog post is still in detention without bail, ten days after.

Mabai, who publishes Cliqq magazine, was arrested by the Nigerian Police Force, Katsina Command,  on Monday, September 19, allegedly on the orders of governor Aminu Masari.

A friend of Mabai told journalists that the governor was apparently not happy with Mabai’s recent post which condemned the purchase of 3,000 metal coffins by the state government, for distribution to mosques in the state.

Mabai had said that by purchasing the coffins, the governor was simply saying that “Katsina people deserve to die”.

He also questioned the rationale behind buying the coffins at N40,000 each at a time the government was unable to pay civil servants’ outstanding arrears of salaries.

Mabai was in police custody for four days before he was charged to a Magistrate court.

He posted on his twitter handle saying: “Finally they have taken us to court at GRA, including one other Social Media activist, Bishir Dauda”.

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He said “as soon as the matter was announced, the judge said he cannot entertain the matter for lack of jurisdiction”, adding that the judge ordered that the accused be kept in prison custody pending when he would be arraigned at a separate court.

Mabai’s lawyer, Job Israel, had filed two applications, one for his fundamental human right and another for bail.

The court is expected to rule on the applications at its sitting on Thursday.

“The ruling tomorrow will determine whether the law (under which Mabai is being charged) is a dead law or an existing law,” said Israel.

“If the case is in our favour tomorrow, that means Mr. Mabai case is terminated forever. But if not, we will have to appeal based on our submissions.”

Mabai is currently being held at the Central Prison in Katsina.

Media reports had quoted the state Commissioner of Police, Usman Abdullahi, as explaining why the blogger was arrested.

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Abdullahi said Mabai was detained for posting tweets to say the government bought the coffins because it wanted people to die.

“The state government complained that Jamil wrote that it had bought 3,000 coffins and distributed to mosques and may be it wanted Katsina people to die.

“Any reasonable person will ask one or two questions. This is why we had to invite him to assist the police,” he said.

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