A Nigerian blogger has been granted bail after he was detained for 22 days for a blog post.
Jamil Mabai was arrested on September 19 by the police for a post on his blog where he criticised the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, for buying coffins with public funds despite owing workers salaries.
On Wednesday, Mr. Mabai was granted bail by Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court, after spending time at the central prison in Katsina.
The blogger’s lawyer, Job Israel, said his client expects to be freed later on Wednesday having met the bail conditions.
“We are just trying to fulfil the bail condition now but it is a very light one. He just needs a single surety and the bail bond is sum of N60,000.
“That is if he jumps bail, the surety will have to pay N60,000,” he said.
He said his client still expects the state ministry of justice to file charges before a competent court after a magistrate court declined jurisdiction.
“It could be one or two weeks or even months because it is a High Court that just granted him bail based on the applications we filed.“But for now he will be on bail that is the greatest relief,” Mr. Israel said.
Jamil Mabai is a known critic of the Katsina administration led by Aminu Masari on his blog, Cliqq Magazine.
A Magistrate Court in Katsina declined jurisdiction to try him. The judge instead asked that he be further detained.
Mr. Mabai’s arrest is believed to have been ordered by the governor, a claim the latter’s spokesperson denied.
The police, however, said they arrested the blogger based on a complaint by the state government. Two other bloggers arrested with Mr. Mabai, Bashir Dauda and Umar Faruq, were released after about a week in detention.
They were all accused of writing about the story with the intent to cause civil disturbance and expose Mr. Masari to public ridicule.
A family friend of Mr. Mabai told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor was not happy with his post condemning the purchase of 3,000 metal coffins for distribution to mosques in the state.
Mr. Mabai said by purchasing the coffins, Mr. Masari is simply saying “Katsina people deserve to die”.
He also questioned the rationale behind buying the coffins at N40,000 each at a time the government was unable to pay civil servants outstanding arrears of salaries.