A FEMALE journalist with Cliqq TV in Katsina Rukayya Jibia has said she was assaulted by policemen attached to the state Police Command.
In a video circulating on social media, Jibia said she was assaulted for speaking up against the parade of four young women arrested over alleged prostitution by the police, though the ladies had not been convicted or tried.
“Few days back, the Katsina State Police Command paraded four young ladies between the ages 19-23, claiming they were into prostitution.
“Upon seeing that video, I recorded a video on my personal TikTok page, where I quoted a section in the Nigerian constitution, which I suggested to the police that they should have taken the girls to court till they are proven guilty before parading them before the press,” Jibia said.
According to the journalist, she got a call from the Katsina State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Gambo Isah inviting her to the palace of the Emir, identified as Abdulmumini Kabir Usman.
However, she said she was accosted on her way to the palace by Isah, who arrived with about four other vehicles. She said the policemen assaulted her.
“They dragged me out of my car and broke my phone. I sustained injury. They dragged me to the Emir’s palace. Gambo Isah told the Emir that I am responsible for looking down on the police and undermining their authority; I’m also responsible for sabotaging their work, and the Emir assigned them to remand me,” Jibia said.
Speaking with The ICIR on Friday, May 26, Jibia said about 20 police officers were involved in the incident, which she said occurred on Monday, May 22.
She further disclosed that she was taken to court by the police, but the judge was not available, after which she was detained for about five hours before her lawyer secured her release on bail.
“Gambo Isah personally opened the car door. He twisted my hand. He broke my phone, smashed it on the ground,” she told The ICIR, adding that she was not allowed to defend or explain herself at the Emir’s palace.
“When I was taken to the Emir’s palace, I was not allowed to speak. I was not given the chance to defend myself. The Emir just worked based on what Gambo Isah had said,” Jibia stated.
Isah did not respond to calls by The ICIR over the issue on Friday. But reacting to the video through a statement on Twitter, he described Jibia’s claims as frivolous allegations, adding that the journalist had been maliciously attacking the police via social media.
“Recently, the KTS Metro was faced with incessant attacks by Kauraye, phone snatchers and other crimes. The Command swung into action, raided criminal hideouts, including brothels, which led to the arrest of 72 suspected persons. Four young women suspected to be sex workers were among those arrested and paraded before the press.
“Rukayya did not appreciate the efforts of the NPF in nipping in the bud the crime disturbing the community, but took to her usual TikTok and continued to rant on the police for arresting and parading the women,” Isah noted.
He added that he had reported her to the Emir, who directed that she be invited.
“Rukayya refused police invitation, dragged with police officers who exercised restraint despite abuse and videos. She was recording the police. She took them places and (they) kept following her before she later decided to follow the police. The Emir, as a father counselled her and directed the Area Commander to investigate the matter,” Isah noted.
He added that Jibia jumped bail after she was released and escaped police investigation.
However, Jibia said she went into hiding out of fear on Wednesday, May 24, as she was told the case would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) instead of the court.
“The next day, they said I should come back. That was when I ran, because we were hoping that they will take me to court so that I will be tried. But instead, the Area Commander said that he was given instructions to take me to the State CID, and I was so scared for my life because I know how the police rough handled me. I was so scared and my lawyer was not there,” Jibia told The ICIR.
Isah also explained via his social media handle that it is not true that suspects are not supposed to be paraded before trial.
However, Human Rights Lawyer Inibehe Effiong, in an interview with The ICIR on Friday, said parading of suspects before trial is extrajudicial and illegal.
“If the police believe that an offence has been committed, they can effect an arrest and then arraign the person before a court of competent jurisdiction. The practice of parading suspects is illegal. It is not in conformity with the law because what they have done is engage in media trial and subject the person, who is still presumed innocent, to public condemnation.
“So that should not be encouraged. Parading of suspects is not part of the powers given to the police under the Police Act. It is also not allowed under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. But more importantly, it violates the conditional rights to dignity of a human person,” Effiong noted.
Section 34(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, provides that every individual is entitled to the dignity of his person.
Section 36(5) also states that “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty”.
Effiong noted that parading pre-trial suspects is an act which violates the law and should be discouraged.