At the Abuja High Court today, Justice Inyang Ekpo, found that Mubarak Bala has been held illegally for more than seven months and ordered his immediate and unconditional release. Ekpo signed a release order that will be served on the Nigerian Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu.
The Judge awarded Mubarak N250,000 (~$500 USD) compensation for the violation of his fundamental rights—a derisory amount for the egregious and protracted abuse of his rights and for 237 days spent in jail to date. In fact, it is one-fortieth of the amount demanded by Mubarak’s legal team.
The judge was visibly annoyed that neither the police nor the State was represented either at the hearing on October 19 or at the reading of the judgment today.
Of course, this is good news and we urge the IGP to obey the court and to transfer Mubarak quickly and safely to a place of his choosing. The world will be watching.
If Mubarak is freed, there remains a list of questions that we need to be answered:
- Why was Mubarak not charged with any offense? By law, he should have been charged within 4 days and he has still not been charged.
- Why was Mubarak denied access to his lawyers and his family for more than five months?
- Why was a court order granting Mubarak access to his lawyers on June 25, ignored by the police?
- Why did it take 164 days for a court to hear Mubarak’s fundamental rights enforcement petition when, by law, it should have been heard within 7 days?
- Why did it take nine weeks for the court to deliver judgment in this fundamental rights case which was uncontested by the state?
- After keeping Mubarak illegally for over 170 days, why did neither Kano State nor Kano police show up in court to defend their actions?
There are criminals to be found in this case but Mubarak is not one of them. He is the innocent victim of a ruling elite who disregard the laws of their country at will, and care nothing for fundamental rights built into the Nigerian Constitution.