The police in Nasarawa State, today, finally charged the Nasarawa State correspondent of Daily Trust Newspapers, Hir Joseph to court, after detaining him on Friday and much of yesterday over a report on the #BringBackOurGirls protest in Lafia.
The police charged the reporter over alleged “Injurious Falsehood,” and sought that he be remanded in prison custody because, according to them, if allowed freedom from bail, the reporter might interfere in police investigation, as well as do similar reports.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the police prosecutor, Mr. D.O. Abolanre at the Chief Magistrate Court II sitting in Lafia, the police “discovered that one Hir Joseph, a new reporter for the Nigerian Daily Trust Newspaper, with intent to injure or cast aspersion on the credibility of the Nigerian Police Force or achieve personal goals, falsely caused to be printed or reported on the Daily Trust….an article caption: Female NSCDC, Police Personnel Demand Rescue of Chibok Girls.
“This he did with the aim to injure the credibility of the Nigeria Police or give the impression that Nigerian women police are against the wisdom of government of the Federal Government of Nigeria or the Inspector General of Police in steps being taken for the rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls.”
The FIR also said the reporter further injured the credibility of the state police command in a report that the command detained six female police officers over their involvement in the #BringBackOurGirls protest in Lafia, last week.
The reporter, who was docked at about 3:24pm, pleaded “not guilty” to the charges before Magistrate Yakubu Egga.
A team of counsels who appeared in court for the reporter, argued for the bail of the reporter, insisting that it was a bailable offence. The lawyers, lled by Barrister Mohammed Danjuma, were Barristers Abubakar Abubakar Dogara, Oshafu Mohammed Zakarai and Mohammed Abdul Ibrahim.
The leadership of the Lafia branch of Nigerian bar Association, led by the chairman, Barrister Ortan Gabriel Akaaka, was also in court alongside the team of lawyers who appeared for the reporter.
The judge granted the reporter bail in the sum of N150,000, or a shortee. State chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Daniel Yakubu, signed as shortee to bail the reporter.
Earlier, the reporter was held in police custody at the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) along Jos Road between 9am when he first reported their, to 2:15 when the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Mr. Musa Akase alongside with the prosecutor herded him out of the station to board commercial motorcycles for the court along Shendam Road.
The police had, last Friday, invited and detained Joseph over his reporter of that day on the participation of policewomen in the chants to free the schoolgirls of Chibok. He was held in the custody between 12:07, and later dragged into an over-crowded cell where he remained between minutes to 7pm and past 9pm.