Court grants Audu Maikori bail, says it lacks jurisdiction to try him
A Kaduna magistrate court on Monday said it lack the jurisdiction to hear a suit brought before against the chief executive officer of Chocolate City Group, Audu Maikori.
Maikori and one Simon Joseph were arraigned over alleged criminal conspiracy and spreading falsehood. They were both accused of inciting disturbance of public peace through the circulation of fake reports that five students of a Kaduna State-owned college of education were murdered by Fulani herdsmen during the Southern Kaduna crisis.
“This false information was inciting and capable of disturbing the public peace,” prosecution counsel, Dari Bayero said.
But Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Yusuf said his court lack the jurisdiction to hear the case and granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N100, 000 and one surety each. He adjourned the case to April 20, for further mention.
The music mogul and lawyer was first arrested on February 17 by policemen attached to the inspector-general’s monitoring and intelligence team, over ‘inciting comments’ he made on social media on Southern Kaduna killings.
He was released on bail but was later picked up on last Friday.
In a series of tweets on January 23, he alleged that five students of Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kafanchan, were murdered by Fulani herdsmen.
“My driver’s younger brother and five others students of College of Education, Gidan Waya, were ambushed and killed by herdsmen yesterday #SouthernKaduna,” he said in one of the tweets.
But the school’s management denied that any of its students was killed. Kaduna State also condemned the misinformation and vowed to prosecute rumour peddlers.
Maikori later apologised for the wrong information contained in his tweets, claiming that he was misled by his driver, who himself was an indigene of Southern Kaduna. The driver, he said, was handed over to the police after he (Maikori) decided to further investigate the story to “ensure that all the facts of the case and evidence were presented to the authorities.”
“I hereby tender an unreserved and sincere apology to the Management of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, His Excellency the Governor of Kaduna State and the Kaduna State Government, and also to the people of Southern Kaduna and the Fulani community and also VANGUARD newspapers, whose source was my driver, for the false statement by my driver which I also publicized believing same to be true,” Maikori said in a statement on February 5.
He was arrested shortly afterwards.
Southern Kaduna, recently for a couple of months, was a scene of bloody conflicts between suspected Fulani herdsmen and indigenes of the area, with scores of the residents killed. The conflicts forced the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew on Zangon Kataf which was only relaxed on February 4 to “6 pm and 6 am”.
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