Court restrains Gombe, police from arresting Daylight Reporters’ publisher

Gombe State High Court has restrained Gombe State Government and the police from the Publisher of Daylight Reporters, an online news medium, Dahiru Hassan Kera.

In his ruling on the case with the suit no: GM/145M/2022, Justice H. H Kereng of the Gombe State High Court of Justice, warned the state government against arresting the publisher.

The court ruled that, the invitation and threats to arrest the publisher is a breach of his fundamental rights; “Especially the provisions of Sections 34, 35, 39 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It stated, “The continued invitation and intimidation of the Applicant by the Officers/Agents of the 1st Respondent is likely infringement of his Fundamental Rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). 

“The publication by the Applicant of 22 May, 2021 based on the facts stated therein is not pregnant with any criminal offence whatsoever as to warrant the involvement of the 1-4 Respondents or any other police officer whatsoever”.

The court therefore ordered the state government and its agents to stop any invitation, threat, arrest, intimidation or harassment of the publisher, “as he has not committed any offence under any Law whatsoever”.

The court ordered thus, “The Respondents are hereby perpetually restrained by themselves, agents, officers, servants, and/or privies acting on their behalf, from harassing, restricting the movement or freedom of expression, the press and violation of any of his Fundamental Rights as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in relating to the case in this application”.

Reacting to the judgement, Kera described the action of the Gombe state government as undemocratic and a breach of his fundamental human rights as provided by the constitution.

He said, ‘It’s unfortunate that a democratic government is engaging in arbitrary arrest and detention of its critics including journalists and social media influencers. This is undemocratic and a clear breach of human rights as provided in the constitution”.

The Gombe state government had declared the publisher a ‘persona non grata’ in the state as part of an alleged attempt by Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya to gag the press and free speech, raising apprehension among journalists and the opposition.

Mr Kera had gone into hiding, after receiving threats from the governor who vowed to ‘deal’ with him.

The publisher has joined the list of several other journalists that have either been arrested, harassed or intimidated on trumped-up charges of ‘libel’ and ‘defamation’, after publishing factual ‘investigative’ stories.