Epoch Times Reporter charged with cyberstalking by Nigerian security officials

Luka Vinyat, a reporter for the era, has charged Kaduna’s National Security Director with a cyberstalker in his prosecution at the Magistrates’ Court in Barnawa, Kaduna, Nigeria, on Tuesday.

Kaduna’s commissar of state security, Samuel Alwan, filed a criminal complaint against Vinyat, who urged his arrest last Thursday. Alwan said at a press conference on Monday that the October 29 Vignat report in The Epoch Times was evidence of incitement to violence and personally endangered him.

“On October 29, 2021, attention was focused on an online publication written by one Luka Binniyat. In this publication, Mr. Vinyat was used by me to conceal the genocide against Christians in southern Kaduna. He quoted Senator Danjuma Ra in the Senatorial district of southern Kaduna, “said Alwan.

On Tuesday, Senator Ra denied that he had made such a statement to Vinyat and expressed his position in a letter from his lawyer. Vinyat could not answer Ra’s claim.

“First of all, I am very worried about the impact of such a statement on the peace and security of our nation, because of the religious and ethnic sentiment it has conveyed,” self-awareness. Written by Christian Alwan on Monday.

He went on to say he felt threatened by the report. “This material puts my life and the life of my family in serious and imminent danger,” he writes.

Cyberstalking is a controversial law in Nigeria enacted in 2015. This is “an act of threatening, harassing, or annoying someone through multiple e-mail messages, such as the Internet, and is specifically intended to scare the recipient. Illegal acts or injuries are borne by the recipient. increase.” According to ResearchGate..

According to the Nigerian International Commission (ICON), more than 60,000 Nigerian citizens, including many unarmed women and children, have died in violent inter-denominational attacks since 2009.

ICON’s executive director, Kyle Abts, told The Epoch Times that the cyberstalking law aims to stop reporting facts. “Vignat has been charged with’cyberstalking under the Cybercrime Act’, which many legal experts believe is another form of the Nigerian government to impede freedom of expression.” He said.

“Mr. According to Teprik Emmanuel, an assistant spokeswoman for the People’s Union of South Kaduna, Vinyat has been moved from the Kakuri police prison to the facility of the Criminal Investigation Division in Kaduna.”

Vinyat was sending a text message to a colleague on Monday morning while waiting to appear in court for fear of his life. “I’m afraid my life is at stake. According to his message to my friend journalist John Sikram, I’m here from a police detention facility at the Gabasawa police station. Was smuggled four days later without dehumanization. “

“I haven’t been taken to the judge yet,” Vinyat sent a text message on the fifth day of his detention by police.
“I managed to get this phone,” he added.

According to Emmanuel, he is represented by barrister Yakubu Galadima, who petitiones the court to move the case to the High Court tomorrow so that the judge can be granted cash bail. “I believe bail can be given soon,” Emmanuel said.

However, other observers believe that state officials are trying to block Vignat’s bail because the Magistrates’ Court does not have the authority to grant bail on charges of cyberstalking.

“This is what the prosecution did to Stephen Kefas two years ago,” said a court attendant who asked not to reveal his identity for fear of retaliation. “They were expected to try Luke with defamation and harmful false statements, but the Magistrates’ Court is not authorized for the crime, and it may take some time to get into the High Court’s stalking. I changed to cyber stalking because I knew it was sexual. “

Internet journalist Kefas was charged with cyberstalking in 2019 and spent 160 days in prison or a major prison in Kaduna, he told The Epoch Times.

According to ICON’s Abts, “Cybercrime raised his case to the High Court and strengthened Kaduna Governor Nasir el-Rufai oversight of Binniyat’s case, which was disastrous to him.

“Luka Vinyat is trying to report the truth and share it with the world. He is prevented from freely expressing his thoughts, beliefs and reality in Nigeria,” Abtu said.

According to California lawyer Jon Stewart, “Accusations against Luka Vinyat have been adopted against other Nigerian journalists for accurately reporting the truth about the slaughter of Nigerian Christians, according to my sources. It’s very similar to the tactics that I used to do. ”A theologian who visited Nigeria five times.

“If my sources in Kaduna are correct, a federal accusation of” cyberstalker “has been added to state accusations, including an” incitement “against Vinyat for his article published in the Epoch Times on October 29. “Stewart sent an email to Epoch Times.

“Federal accusations have prevented local justices of the peace from granting bail, which means that Vinyat is suffering in prison until the issue is transferred to a federal justice of the peace who can grant bail. It can take weeks or more to be officially transferred to a federal justice of the peace. Sends a harsh message that journalists will provoke government anger, “Stewart wrote.

Rev. Johnny Moore, a two-time member of the US International Religious Freedom Commission, urged human rights groups to speak out against the persecution of reporters.

“Are Nigerian authorities currently imprisoning journalists acting on behalf of international media organizations? Instead of working hard to make excuses for the atrocities committed in the country, they do them. That energy should be devoted to fixing. I hope the global angry chorus is not negligible, as no one seems to hear the quiet cry of thousands of innocent victims of Nigeria. ” Moore sent a text message to The Epoch Times.

Douglas Burton


Douglas Burton is a former US State Department employee stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq. He writes news and commentary from Washington, DC. He can be contacted at [email protected]