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Front Page Editorial: Release Ayuba, Aliyu now

The Taraba State Government  must immediately and unconditionally free Idris Ayuba and Abdulahi Aliyu who are detained for allegedly criticizing Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku and its administration.

 

It's shocking and troubling that Abdulahi Aliyu, a youth corps member has spent over  13 months in the Jalingo Correctional Center without being charged or arraigned in any court for any criminal offence.


While Idris Ayuba , a youth leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC, journalist and    Chairmanship aspirant in Donga Local Government was arrested on May 5 2020, he appeared in Court once and his bail was 'politically denied'.


27 year-old Aliyu, a graduate of Adamawa State University, Mubi was arrested for an  allegedly offensive Facebook comment he made about Governor  Ishaku. He made the comment on the 12th of March, 2019 and was arrested on the 21st of March, 2019.


According to Aliyu, the post was deleted and he has apologised to the Governor'. 
 

Aliyu's whereabouts remained unknown until April 12, 2020, when he had the opportunity to call an older friend from prison and narrated his touching ordeal. His detention has not only cost him his National Service year, but his promising dreams are being shattered.

 

Ayuba was also arrested for criticizing Governor Ishaku on social media and all efforts to secure his bail have been turned down. Judges are washing off their hands in the case citing political pressure to continue to remand him prison.

 
Ayuba's arrest is not only worrying, but shows the increasing attacks, threats, and intimidation of citizens who share different views with the government in power.  Governor Ishaku should know that there's no Democracy without opposition. 

 

The fact that some forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify illegal and politically motivated detention like the case of the duo.

 

 The Judiciary in the state should live above board and hear the two cases on their merits without political interference and be granted bail in accordance with the law. Keeping critics locked up is illegal and unconstitutional. 

 The Government  cannot claim to respect the rule of law when politicians, particularly its officials, continue to target critics for exercising their rights.

 
Several Human rights organization like the Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) are concerned that  citizens could be sent to prison without an order of court or without being found guilty and convicted of any legally established crime after a fair trial by a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

Authorities of the Jalingo Correctional Centre and the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Taraba State have explanations to make for this unlawful detention. This blatant subversion of due process and flagrant abuse of the citizens fundamental rights to fair hearing, personal liberty and human dignity in Taraba State MUST STOP .

 

Like  RULAAC, we call on the National Human Rights Commission to undertake a prompt, exhaustive and effective investigation to unravel this mystery and ensure accountability and redress for the gross violation of the fundamental rights of these citizens.

 

  We appeal to Governor Ishaku to retrace his steps and embrace an open society where everyone is allowed to exercise their right of expression within the ambit of the law.


The State Government should immediately release Ayuba and Aliyu. All the charges against them should be tried in courts of competent jurisdiction.




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