Audu Maikori has been granted bail, following his arrest on Friday, March 10, 2017.
The Nigerian entertainment expert was escorted to Kaduna Magistrate Court, located along Ibrahim Taiwo road this morning by the state’s police officers and Dari Bayero – Director of Public Prosecution in Kaduna State.
Audu, who was charged under Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act, was granted bail on health grounds.
The court has adjourned his trial till April 20, 2017 where he would appear before the state’s Chief Magistrate.
The businessman reportedly collapsed on March 7 while taking pictures with attendees at a Lagos event – WIMBIZ – and he was on medications at the time of his second arrest.
Audu Maikori was allegedly being charged formerly for ‘incitement’, following his false online claims that five students of College of Education, GidanWaya, Kaduna State, were killed in the conflict in southern Kaduna.
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He was first arrested on February 17 by the Nigerian Police Force in Lagos and flown to the Department of State Services (DSS) headquarters in Abuja supposedly for sharing the ‘inciting’ information online.
His second arrest happened on Friday, March 10 following a warrant issued by a federal magistrate in Kaduna.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State senator, Shehu Sani, on Monday demanded the immediate release of Audu Maikori, describing the latest arrest and incarceration of the Chocolate City boss as an affront to constitutional democracy.
“The case of Audu is becoming a stain and embarrassment to our country as a constitutional democracy,” Mr. Sani said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES Monday morning. “He should be released or charged to court and without extra-legal interference.”
The demand came hours after Mr. Maikori’s associate and lawyer, John Danfulani, told PREMIUM TIMES the label executive took ill at the police facility where he was held and was rushed to the hospital Sunday night.
“He had since regained his consciousness and fine now,” Mr. Danfulani told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone. “He just had a brief respiratory crisis and had been returned to custody.”
Mr. Sani, a civil rights activist, said allegations of hate speech and incitement must not be used as a “smokescreen to stifle dissent or persecute people for their right to freely express their opinion.”
“Civil liberties and freedom must not be strangulated under the guise of security exigencies. As a democracy, we must learn to balance our obligation to respect constitutional rights and the urgency to tackle a persistent danger,” he said.
Mr. Sani urged concerned authorities to channel their attention and resources towards holistic eradication of pastoralists’ clashes across the country.
“Armed herdsmen represent a collective danger that needs a collective response,” Mr. Sani said. “An onslaught against armed herdsman is what is needed and not an onslaught against freedom of speech.
Mark Jacob – the attorney responsible for his first release – carried out some crisis management this time, while Audu’s associate, John Danfulani carried out the legal procedures in Kaduna.
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