A group, Citizens For Steven Kefas, has asked the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate the plight of Steven Kefas who has been imprisoned in the past 139 days over unfounded allegations.
Kefas is being detained for criticising Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai over the devastation of Southern Kaduna communities, banditry and herdsmen’s killings, among others and demanded his immediate and unconditional release, as well as reinforcement of his fundamental human rights.
Speaking on behalf of the group yesterday during a World Press Conference at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Abuja, Emmanuel Onwubiko challenged all people of good conscience to join in appealing to Justice Mairo Mohammed to grant Kefas bail and allow for a dispassionate dispensation of justice.
“We want Nigeria and the world to know that Kaduna State has become a centre of intimidation, harassment and human rights violations,” he said, adding that agents of Kaduna State government who are in tandem with judicial officials have been intimidating innocent persons in the state.
He said there was no respect for constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of citizens in the state, adding, “We have come from different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds to draw the world’s attention to the grim situation of citizen Kefas.
“As at Monday, October 7, 2019, he has spent 139 days in Kaduna Prison without bail for criticising Governor El-Rufai,” he said.
Besides, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) yesterday protested against the detention of Kefas, lamenting El-Rufai’s arbitrary use of power to clamp down on Kefas and other critics of his administration.
Describing Kefas as a Prisoner of Conscience, HURIWA condemned the hostile and intolerant atmosphere allegedly exhibited by El-Rufai against the fundamental rights of citizens and freedom of speech.
It urged Nigerians to rise against El-Rufai’s excesses and violation of the rights of the Kaduna people.
He said the state was no longer safe for journalists and opinion leaders who express divergent views on government’s policies and programmes, citing the clamp down on “journalists and social media commentators at the slightest opportunity.”