By Ismail Auwal
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately release Mubarak Bala, who was arrested earlier this year for alleged blasphemous post about Islam.
While delivering the judgment on the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Bala, Justice Inyang Ekwo, declared that his arrest and detention by the IGP and the NPF in an unknown detention centre, since February 28, 2020, illegal.
“Because he expressed his opinion about religion on Facebook, constitutes an infraction of the applicant’s rights to personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thought, freedom of express and freedom of movement”.
The judge also declared that the action of the respondents (the IGP and the NPF) “in denying the applicant access to his lawyers constitutes a gross infringement of the applicant right to legal representation of his choice under section 34 and 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution”.
Justice Inyang Ekwo while delivering the judgment also asked Nigerian police to pay Mubarak Bala 250,000 as a compensation for damage.
Mubarak was accused for blasphemous comments against Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on his social media platforms, which resulted in many calls from people for police to take action against him. The police eventually arrested him in response to a petition filed by a concerned group that alleged Mubarak’s posts are inciting, and could result into breakdown of law and order.