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Humanists Outraged Over Sentencing of Mubarak Bala for Blasphemy

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Humanists In Jos Condemn Court Verdict On Mubarak Bala, Seek His Release

The humanist community in Nigeria has expressed shock at the sentencing of Mubarak Bala for ‘blasphemy’.

According to the humanists, it is utterly disgraceful that a court in this 21st century could convict an individual for making innocuous posts on Facebook.

Bala, president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested for blasphemy in 2020 and was convicted on April 5 2022.

“Today is a sad day for humanism, human rights and freedom in Nigeria. The sentencing of Mubarak Bala is a stark violation of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief. We urge the authorities in Nigeria to ensure that this judicial charade does not stand,” says Leo Igwe, a trustee of the Humanist Association of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Mubarak Bala: 300 Days in Detention Without Trial

After almost two years of illegal detention, Bala pleaded guilty to the charges. But according to his lawyer, the plea was not part of the legal strategy, and Bala might have been tricked to believe that a guilty plea would earn him a lighter sentence. Incidentally the plea did not.

“The judge did not seem to consider that he had been illegally locked up for two years, or what effect it must have had on him or the apparent conflict between his position and that of his lawyer.

He appeared overly willing to accept the guilty plea, and to impose two 24 years sentences, only relenting by allowing them to be served consecutively”, says George Mbuagbaw, HAN’s Interim President.

Humanists believe that Bala is being targeted because he renounced Islam, and for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of conscience or belief.

“We urge the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the sentence is overturned and that blasphemy laws are repealed”, the group said.

 

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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

Less than 24 hours after Senate President Ahmed Lawan declared that he would not appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court in Damaturu, the state capital, on Wednesday on the Yobe North senatorial seat matter, his All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided otherwise..

The APC in the state is determined to go on appeal over the matter.

The lower court had in its verdict, not only affirmed Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate for next year’s election, but ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise him as such, a position the nation’s number three man said he would not appeal against.

However, in another turn of events, Mohammed Gadaka, Chairman of the APC in the state, arguing that the party had taken it as a duty to protect the Senate President, indicated party’s intention to proceed to the appellate court.

READ  ALSO: I Won’t Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate – Lawan

“We are aware of the Wednesday, September 28, 2022, ruling of the Federal High Court in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, with respect to the forthcoming Yobe north Senatorial District election. However, we respectfully reject the decision of the President of the Senate, His Excellency Senator Ahmad Lawan, accepting the judgment of the court which disqualified his candidature and participation in the election.

“In exercise of our legal rights, the Yobe State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to appeal the Federal High Court ruling in the interest of Yobe State, Nigeria and good governance. We have a duty to protect and sustain Senator Ahmed Lawan’s twenty-three years exemplary sojourn as a lawmaker and his impeccable record of leadership and patriotism – and commitment to making Nigeria work.”

 

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Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

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Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches has written a petition to the Cross River State chapter of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over a planned event to rescue families from witchcraft.

The petition titled “Petition: Ukpabio ‘s Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets Event” was signed by Dr.Leo Igwe.

The petition reads:
“I am writing on behalf of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an organization that campaigns to end witch persecution in Nigeria to lodge a complain about a proposed event, Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets, of Evangelist Helen Ukpabio and her Liberty Gospel Church. The event will be held on October 5 to 9 2022 in Calabar. As explained in this article, the event has some criminal intent and could fuel human rights abuses in Cross River state. Witchcraft accusation is a crime under the law. So it is important to restrain any individual or group, or stop any activity with the intent to accuse, or impute witchcraft as this proposed program by Ms Ukpabio and her church has indicated.

“As you may be aware, cases of witch persecution, attack and killings in Cross River have been linked to the activities of Ms Ukpabio and her church, and other witch hunters who openly advertise, stage and hold programs where they make witchcraft imputations (in this case in families), identify witches and exorcise witchcraft. Programs like this event on Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets valorize witchcraft beliefs, and incite people to suspect, maltreat, attack or kill family members in the name of witchcraft.

READ ALSO: Ukpabio’s Rescuing Families From Witchcraft Markets

“At a time when Cross River state is witnessing killings and attacks linked to witchcraft beliefs, it is necessary to take measures to prevent witchcraft accusations, witch identifications and persecutions. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges you to use your good office to restrain Ukpabio and her church from going ahead with this witch hunting event. ”

 

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rules On Leadership Tussle In Edo PDP

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rejects Bid To Enforce Zoning Policy In PDP

The leadership tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State chapter might have ended , with the dismissal of an appeal instituted at the Apex Court by Dan Orbhi-led faction.

The apex vourt in a judgment by Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim held that the issue of leadership by political parties is an internal affair and as such, the courts have no jurisdiction.

In the appeal marked SC/CV/979/2022, filed by Hon Monday Iyere Osagie, the Supreme Court said that the appeal lacked merit because it was not justiciable.

Justice Agim, who delivered the unanimous judgment, asked political parties to always adhere strictly to their guidelines, rules and regulations in order to promote genuine democracy.

READ ALSO: Why Obaseki May Lead Us Out Of PDP – Edo Deputy Governor

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and a chieftain of PDP, Chief Dan Orbhi have been at each other’s throat over who controls the party in the state.

Governor Obaseki formerly of the All Progressives Congress, APC, decamped to the PDP, stood for the last governorship election on the party’s platform and won.

He later opted to control the machinery of the party.

 

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