Commercial Law

Bayelsa Magistrate remands journalist in custody for sedition

The Chief Magistrate of Yenagoa Magisterial District 2, Mr. Mirinn-John Tari on Thursday evening remanded former General Manager, Radio Bayelsa “Glory FM”, Dr John Idumange in custody for the next 30 days for sedition.

Mr Tari said the detention is to enable the Police to conclude investigations into allegations of seditious publications and conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Dr Idumange was arrested on Wednesday by the police over allegations of embarrassing the state government. He was alleged to have said that the Central Bank Loan of N3 billion meant for Bayelsa farmers was misappropriated.

The  Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has called for his immediate release. The Interim Chair, ASCAB, Femi Falana SAN in a statement warn the police not to succumb to the ploy of politicians to use them to settle political scores.

Falana said: “For the umpteenth time we call on the Police Authorities to restrain police personnel from being used to settle political scores by anti democratic forces in the country. In demanding for the unconditional release of Dr. Idumange from unlawful custody we are compelled to request the Police to advise the complainant to sue for defamation if he feels offended by the publication;

Since the provisions of the Criminal Code pertaining to sedition were declared illegal and unconstitutional in the case of Arthur Nwankwo v The State (1985) 6 NCLR 228 the harassment of Dr. Idumange for the civil wrong of defamation is a serious breach of the Police Act 2020 which has prohibited the Police from arresting and detailing people for civil wrong.

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