A magistrate court in Bauchi State last Thursday ordered police operatives to release a mobile phone and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards belonging to Haruna Mohammed Salisu, WikkiTimes Publisher.
However, the order is yet to be obeyed.
Haruna was arrested and detained by the security details attached to Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed while covering presidential elections on February 25 at Duguri, the governor’s hometown.
He was arrested on the governor’s order and arraigned at Magistrate Court III on March 7. According to the police report, Haruna was charged with a one-count charge of inciting public disturbance, an allegation the publisher refuted.
The publisher was released on bail on March 9, but the police refused to release his mobile phone containing two SIM cards.
Haruna’s lawyer, Gambo Idris, obtained a court order last week directing the police to release his client’s phone, but the Police refused. The application was contained in a letter signed by the lawyer and addressed to Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Aminu Alhassan.
Barrister Gambo explained that the application for the release of the phone was in the interest of justice considering the fact that the state government had taken over the matter from the police.
“Our client, has his phone in the custody of the Nigerian Police and his life so much depended on it, as in this cashless regime, life is very difficult without the means of communication and transactions,” the letter partly read.
In a writ signed by the Registrar of the court, Mohammed Hadi Abdullahi Esq, the court directed the Commissioner of Police to release the phone including the SIM cards.
Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, spokesman for Bauchi Police Command did not respond to calls for an enquiry. Also, a text sent to him had not been responded to at press time.