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By Tor Vande-AckaCorrespondent, Makurdi
The Nasarawa state command of the Nigeria Police on Monday charged the state correspondent of Daily Trust, Joseph Hir to court for injuring it’s credibility in a “Bring Back Our Girls” report by the paper.
The reporter was alleged to have included in his report last week that six women police officers allegedly participated in the “Bring Back Our Girls” protest in the state.
The police had also alleged that in the report, Hir wrote that the police women that participated in the report were detained by the command for their action.
According to the police First Information Report (FIR), the police said “This (report) he did with the aim to injure the credibility of the Nigeria Police or give the impression that Nigerian women police are against the wisdom of government of the Federal Government of Nigeria or the Inspector General of Police in steps being taken for the rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls.”
The FIR also said the reporter further injured the credibility of the state police command in a report that the command detained the six female police officers that allegedly participated in the protest in Lafia, last week.
Hir was detained in an overcrowded cell last week Friday over the report, only to gain his freedom at about 9pm on the same day and again detained from 9am to about 2:30pm on Monday before he was charged to court.
He was docked by 3:30pm and charged over alleged “Injurious Falsehood” at the Chief Magistrate Court II sitting in Lafia before Magistrate Yakubu Egga.
The police prosecutor, D.O. Abolanre said the police “discovered that one Hir Joseph, a news reporter for the Nigerian Daily Trust Newspaper, with intent to injure or cast aspersion on the credibility of the Nigerian Police Force or achieve personal goals, falsely caused to be printed or reported on the Daily Trust….an article caption: Female NSCDC, Police Personnel Demand Rescue of Chibok Girls”.
But, the reporter pleaded not guilty to the charges.
However, the prosecutor appealed to the court to remand the reporter in prison custody, arguing that if granted bail he would tamper with police investigations.
But, the counsel that appeared for Hir argued for the bail of the reporter, insisting that it was a bail able offence.
The lawyers who were led by Barrister Mohammed Dogara also had on its team Oshafu Mohammed Zakarai and Mohammed Abdul Ibrahim.
The chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Gabriel Akaaka, was also in court alongside other lawyers that also appeared for the reporter.
The judge granted the reporter bail in the sum of N150, 000, or a surety and was bailed by the State chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Daniel Yakubu.