The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Nigeria Police Force to release the detained Imo-based radio journalist, Chinonso Uba, popularly known as Nonso Nkwa.
SaharaReporters reported on Wednesday that the force headquarters arraigned the rights activist, Chinonso Uba, before the court.
Uba, who is also the coordinator of the Protect the Weak International Foundation (PROWIF), was arraigned on two counts bordering on insulting Governor Hope Uzodinma and Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo.
The police in charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/367/2023 between Inspector General of Police Vs Chinonso Uba told the court that Uba’s offence contravenes the Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.
The journalist was picked up in Owerri on July 27, 2023, and has been detained at the force headquarters, Abuja for three weeks without being granted access to his family members and lawyers.
SaharaReporters had reported that the journalist was dragged from his car to an unknown place after work at Ozisa FM, Assumpta Owerri, where he had told his listeners and admirers that he could be abducted by unknown gunmen.
When the whereabouts of Uba could not be ascertained, residents and civil society organisations started accusing Governor Uzodinma’s administration of being behind his disappearance. Following several reports, the Imo State Government confirmed that he was arrested by the police.
Human rights groups have complained that Uba is being held illegally and denied access to his family and doctor. They maintained that his detention without granting him access to his lawyers and family members violate his fundamental and constitutional rights.
However, following his detention without arraignment in court, his lawyer, P.A.N. Ejiofor, filed a fundamental rights suit against the police.
Delivering judgement on Friday, in the suit numbered FCT/HC/CV/7128/2023, the presiding judge, Justice E. N. Okpe, held that Uba’s “arrest, detention, and torture are illegal, unconstitutional, reckless, and a violent infringement of his fundamental human rights”.
The court consequently ordered the police to release him within 24 hours.