Luka Binniyat, the Kaduna state correspondent of Vanguard newspaper, who was accused of falsely reporting that five students of the state College of Education were killed by Fulani herdsmen, has been granted bail by a Magistrate Court.
Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf, granted the journalist bail in the sum of N200,000 and a surety in like sum.
The surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, covered with a Certificate of Occupancy.
After the report was published on January 24, Binniyat was invited by the Kaduna State command of the Department of State Service, DSS, and after interrogation, he was handed over to the police who later charged him to court.
He has met his bail conditions and has since been released.
The journalist however maintained that his report was credible, insisting that he had his facts and source.
“My problem now is that the state government is now focusing on my person rather than looking at the organization that published the alleged story,Vanguard Newspaper, which is my principal.
“I expected them to have been joined in the suit but everything is, ‘You Luka Binniyat’.
“But I am not discouraged by this as I will continue to put in the best in my profession as a journalist,” he said.
Binniyat had reported that five students were killed at a road block erected by Fulani herdsmen along Gidan Waya-Pasakori road in Jema’a Local Government.
But security operatives claim the report was false and had created tension that almost sparked another round of violence in the area.
The authorities said that Binniyat had fabricated the name of a student – James Joseph – as among those killed, and saying that he was a student of Mass Communication who hailed from Kurmin Musa village in Jaba Local Government Area.
“Immediately, security agencies embarked on thorough investigation to the institution and the area the purported attack took place and Kurmin Musa village,” a security personnel who pleaded anonymity said.
“There was no single student that was killed; there is also no Mass Communication course in the College of Education.
“Our findings in the village revealed that there is no student known as James Joseph. And the area in question is in Kachia and not Jaba LGA.
“In a nutshell, everything reported in the story was found to be false,” the source added.