- Slam N20 Million Bail Condition On Him
- Lawyer Says His Health Fast Deteriorating
- Activists Call For His Immediate Release
Despite a court order directing the police to release him immediately, the Nigerian Police has refused to release popular broadcaster and activist Theodore Chinonso Uba, also known as Nonso Nkwa. The Federal High Court in Abuja last Friday ordered the police to release Mr. Uba within 24 hours.
Mr. Uba, a journalist and human rights activist, was abducted on July 27, 2023, in Owerri, Imo State, on his way from work at OsisaFM radio station. He was flown to Abuja the following day and detained by the police.
On August 16, 2023, the police arraigned him on two charges of insulting Governor Hope Uzodinma and Niger Delta militant leader Asari Dokubo. The police said in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/367/2023 between the Inspector General of Police vs. Chinonso Uba that Uba’s offense contravenes the Cybercrime Prohibition Act. However, on August 18, 2023, the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered his immediate release in a suit brought by his lawyer to enforce his fundamental human rights.
In a twist, the police on Tuesday slammed a N20 million-naira bail on Mr. Uba. The police are also demanding that he produce a senior director with landed property in Abuja who will deposit his travel passport.
Meanwhile, Mr. Uba’s health is reportedly deteriorating. His lawyers, P.A.N Ejiofor told NOHR that he was taken to a police doctor on Tuesday. The doctor recommended a series of tests for him, but the police simply dumped him back in his cell.
“His health is getting worse,” his lawyers said.
- Activists Kick Against His Continued Detention
“The continued detention of Mr. Uba despite a court order for his release is a violation of his fundamental human rights. The police should immediately comply with the court order and release him unconditionally” Said human rights lawyer Deji Ajare
“ The purported administrative bail granted Mr. Nonso by the Police is an afterthought and already overtaken by the order of the court which directed his immediate release. The actions of the Police raise significant concerns and warrants condemnation. “It is clear too, from the bail conditions that it is a Greek Gift, that is deceptively problematic, otherwise, how does the police expect someone who is resident in Imo State to get a Director who has landed properties in Abuja?
“Granting bail to a suspect is meant to ensure that they can await trial outside of incarceration, as long as they adhere to certain conditions. However, in the case of Mr. Nkwa, the conditions imposed on him are so stringent and nearly impossible to meet that it appears to be a deliberate attempt to withhold his freedom rather than provide him with a fair chance.
“By setting these unreasonably high bail conditions, the police are effectively denying Mr. Nonso his right to freedom and coercing him into prolonged detention, even before his guilt has been proven in a court of law.
“This approach raises questions about the police’s commitment to ensuring justice and fair treatment for suspects. Bail conditions should strike a balance between protecting society’s interests and respecting the principle of innocence until proven guilty. Imposing impossible conditions undermines this balance and compromises the integrity of the criminal justice system, which should be founded on fairness and equity.
“It is imperative that the police reevaluate the bail conditions set for Mr. Nonso and ensure that they truly reflect his individual circumstances and do not create an undue burden on his personal freedom. Said Barrister Ajare