A journalist has been arraigned before a magistrate court in Kaduna on charges of falsifying a report on 24th January, 2017, that five students of Kaduna State College of Education were killed by Fulani herdsmen in Southern Kaduna. The journalist, Mr. Luka Binniyat was interrogated on Monday by operatives of Department of State Services (DSS) before he was further handed over to the Police.
A security source said that the journalist on 24th January 2017 published a report, that five students of Kaduna State College of Education in Southern Kaduna were killed at a road block erected by Fulani herdsmen along Gidan Waya-Pasakori road in Jema’a local government area.
“The report compounded the security situation and created tension that almost plunged Southern Kaduna into another cycle of killings but for the prompt response by security agencies, traditional and religious leaders.
“Binniyat fabricated the name of a student (James Joseph) as among those killed, falsely claiming that the student was a native of Kurmin Musa village in Jaba local government. Kurmin Musa is in Kachia local government. Binniyat also stated in his report that James Joseph is a student of Mass Communication in the institution.
“Immediately, security agencies embarked on thorough investigation at the institution and the area where purported attack took place and Kurmin Musa village. 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 local government area. In a nutshell, everything reported in the story was found to be false.
“Binniyat was investigated and handed over to the Police and they have taken him to the court.
“We cannot allow anybody to use the constitutionally protected right of a free press to fabricate stories that promote panic, further divide people, intensify strife and cause a breakdown of law and order.
“It is based on these issues, that he was charged to court for diligent prosecution. Nobody is above the law, and we will not relent in our duties of protecting the lives and property of the citizenry.”
The security source added that the expectation in security circles is that the media will use this opportunity to stand for accurate reporting and enforce ethics. Every Nigerian has a duty to contribute to peace-building. It is time to stand against reckless reporting and unbridled sensationalism.