Luka Binniyat is a passionate son of the soil by his reportage of events and the killings that has being ongoing in Southern Kaduna.
He has received several warnings from the El-rufai led administration for refusing to be bought into underreporting the killings of the Southern Kaduna people. The Kaduna State governor has not being happy with the Journalist (Mr. Luka Binniyat) especially for exposing what he told newsmen at the interview he granted to them in the government house, where he reported that the governor acknowledged paying the Fulani terrorist to stop killing the Southern Kaduna people.
Culled from the governor’s word from Vanguard’s publication of December 3, 2016 titled “WE’VE PAID SOME FULANI TO STOP KILLINGS IN SOUTHERN KADUNA” The governor’s words; “Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle belt and Southern Nigeria. The moment the rain starts around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries”.
“Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them”.
“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle”.
“So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organized themselves and came back to revenge”.
“We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger Republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing”.
“In most of the communities, ones that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There was one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me”.
The governor later confirmed this to be true through a press conference held in the government house.
The government charged Luka Biniyat, a Vanguard correspondent for writing a fake story of about 5 students who were killed by Fulani herdsmen. Even when he argued that he contacted the source of the story. The source of the fake story is Audu Maikori the CEO of Chocolate City who has retracted his comment about the story.
This is what he said “RETRACTION: #COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, GIDAN WAYA KILLINGS
Following the statement by the College of Education, Gidan-Waya Kaduna and the Kaduna State government refuting the story that 5 students of the school were killed by Fulani herdsmen en-route to school on the 27th of January 2017, as reporter by my one Simon Joseph (my personal driver) I decided to further investigate the story to ensure that all the facts of the case and evidence were presented to the authorities.
My driver Simon Joseph had travelled to the village to attend his younger brother’s burial and on his return on Monday the 30th of January 2017, I asked him for pictures from the burial, the ID card of his brother and also pictures of the casket so I could submit to the authorities and he told me that he had phone issues so he could not store pictures on his phone. He told me however that his sister had the pictures on her phone and I proceeded to give him money to go to Ikeja to get the pictures from his sister, so I could have evidence. He didn’t return till evening, and when he did, he showed me some blurry picture of a male body which didn’t show the face of the victim. At this point I began to strongly suspect foul play. I again questioned him about the veracity of his story to which he swore on the bible that his brother was dead and even began to shed tears.
Not totally satisfied with the story I made contact with his referees ( who helped to engage him) and they didn’t seem to know about any death in his family . So on the 2nd of February, 2017 I went in company of his referee one Mr Dauda to the Lekki Police Station for questioning in the absence of his providing any concrete evidence of the death of his brother and fellow students(He clearly didn’t suspect anything at this stage). When we got to the station, I lodged my complaint and when he was questioned he maintained his story about the deaths were real until the police officers at the station threatened to arrest him . It was only then that he confessed and said he was just trying to collect money from me; that he knew that I was involved in the advocacy on the Southern Kaduna crisis and he thought that I after obtaining money for me for the fake burial expenses I wouldn’t cross check the veracity of his story. So he was duly arrested.
Following this development, I decided that the right thing to do was to issue a statement retracting the tweet which reported the killings of students of the College of Education as relayed to me by my driver. And I had no reason to doubt him due to the spate of killings in the area and because in the 8 months he has worked for me, he had never “lied” to me about anything or so I thought. Besides why would any right thinking human lie about the death of a sibling?
Consequently, I hereby tender an unreserved and sincere apology to the Management of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, His Excellency the Governor of Kaduna State and the Kaduna State Government, and also to the people of Southern Kaduna and the Fulani community and also VANGUARD newspapers whos source was my driver for the false statement by my driver which I also publicized believing same to be true.
This action is made even more imperative because I understand that as a leader in my community, my statements are taken seriously and shapes the narrative. But nothing is more important in leadership than owning up to mistakes honestly and with integrity regardless of the repercussions or circumstances.
I make this statement with all sense of responsibility, realizing that by admitting what transpired, people may begin to doubt my credibility and that of my statements in future… this is a risk I am willing to take but I would rather tell the truth about the situation than suppress it.
Besides this what is clear to me is that there are people who are simply just creating and concocting pictures and stories to deliberately mislead people, like I was misled. With benefit of hindsight I should have checked the story in detail but given that I am not a journalist or Police officer my experience in these matters are/were limited.
I must also seize this opportunity to plead with my brothers in Kaduna, regardless of ethnic or religious persuasion that the time to unite and fight for peace is now. This unfortunate situation is now actively being used by crisis opportunists, politicians and some unpatriotic elements to forge their personal or commercial agendas to the detriment of the peace and stability of the state. This must stop.
Instructively, it is important to note that nothing in my clarification undermines the fact that the lives of Nigerians citizens have been lost in the Southern Kaduna crisis rather it refers to this particular incident which I have verified to have been untrue and fraudulent.
The arrest of the arrest of 17 suspects with arms and ammunition in connection with the Southern Kaduna killings on the 3rd of February by security agents is evidence that our agitations are yielding fruit and to that end I commend the government on these arrests as well as many more in the nearest future.
To this end, I am even more resolved in this quest for the restoration of peace in Southern Kaduna and also working even more closely with the all the stakeholders to ensure that normalcy returns to Kaduna. What is however clear is that unverified facts , hate messages and ethnic stereotyping only exacerbates the issues ,they don’t help the pursuit of peace.
As I speak, my former driver Simon has been handed over to the police authorities.He is available to help the authorities with any further investigations”.
Aside Audu Maikori, Binniyat went ahead to interview Maikori’s driver who is the originator of the fake story, the interview as translated from the hausa video, thus:
Maikori’s Driver – Then they enter
Luka Binniyat- Did he sell the pig?
Maikori’s Driver- Yes
Luka Binniyat- Okay
Maikori’s Driver- They were at a sharp bend when the driver said he wanted to check something in the car engine. So, as they all were waiting for him outside the car, before they knew it, these people came out from the bush at about 4:00pm and killed them all and left the driver alive.
Luka Binniyat- Where is the corpse of your brother now?
Maikori’s Driver- It was deposited at Zango hospital.
Luka Binniyat- Zango or Zonkwa?
Maikori’s Driver- Zango! Zango!! Zango!!!
Luka Binniyat- Is there a mortuary in Zango?
Maikori’s Driver- Like by that day!
Luka Binniyat- Yeah, is there a mortuary there? Is it not a general hospital?
Maikori’s Driver- There is.
Luka Binniyat- But what about the remaining people, where are their corpses?
Maikori’s Driver- Honestly, I don’t know. I have, I have a picture of my brother that was sent to me.
Luka Binniyat- Wait, was this issue reported to the police?
Maikori’s Driver – Honestly, I didn’t ask.
Luka Binniyat- Because that is the problem the story is giving us, the police said they know nothing about that.
Maikori’s Driver- Honestly, I didn’t ask.
Luka Binniyat- Why will they say they killed 5 people?
Luka Binniyat- Wait, did you inform the management of the school?
Maikori’s Driver- I don’t actually know how they do it. I don’t know if they inform the school.
Luka Binniyat- Where are you?
Maikori’s Driver- I will be leaving because the burial is tomorrow.
Luka Binniyat- Is the burial tomorrow?
Maikori’s Driver- Yes
Luka Binniyat- Give me the contact of someone from your family.
Maikori’s Driver- Wait, I will send, I will get your number from…. and send to you.
Luka Binniyat- Good, talk to someone from your family then I will call that person to get more information.
Luka Binniyat- Sorry about this.
Maikori’s Driver- Yes sir.
That was how the Vanguard correspondent interview with the originator of the fake story ended and I wonder why some people believed that the journalist didn’t do his job well. Some people on twitter had accused him of being lazy that, that is why he couldn’t investigate the story before publishing it.
The journalist has been vindicated by the above interview with Maikori’s Driver.
El-rufai led administration had reported the Vanguard correspondent and he was invited by the Department of State Security (DSS) office, Kaduna State Command for questioning on February 6, 2017.
Binniyat was at the DSS office at 10am and he was interrogated and later charged to court for fabricating a story about the five students who were killed by Fulani herdsmen, thus: “a circulatory publication on newspapers and social media containing a falsehood statements capable of breaching the public peace. Whereby you stated that five (5) students of College of Education Gidan Waya, Kafanchan, were ambushed and shot dead by herdsmen somewhere close to Gidan Way, amongst other injurious statements, which you know and believed very well that it was not true. An intrigue to cause feud among the people living within Kaduna State, thereby committed an offense punishable under section 393 and 113 of the penal code law of Kaduna State 1991”.
The Vangaurd correspondent said thus: “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 which is Vanguard Newspaper, 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”.
The chairman for the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Kaduna State chapter, Mr. Adamu Yusuf and the Secretary, Dauda Doka stormed the court premises accompanied by hundreds of journalist in solidarity, promised that no any journalist will suffer injustice again for doing his job.
The Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Yusuf, had granted to the vanguard correspondent bail of N200,000, a surety and must reside within the jurisdiction of the court with a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court with a certificate of occupancy.
Binniyat slept in prison because his counsel couldn’t meet up with the bail condition on time. He was released on Tuesday after the bail condition was met.
Many sons and daughters of Southern Kaduna waited for him in solidarity to be released from 9am to about pass 2pm on February 7, 2017. Below are the pictures of the crowd that welcome him as he was released from the prison.