A former commissioner of Agriculture in Niger, Abubakar Katcha, has appeared before a Chief Magistrates Court in Minna for allegedly criticising Niger state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello on social media.
Katcha served under the administration of former Gov. Babangida Aliyu along with the incumbent.
He was charged on allegations of criminal conspiracy, use of insulting or abusive language, injurious falsehood and inciting public disturbance, contrary to sections 97, 397, 393 and 114 of the penal code law.
The Police Prosecutor, ASP Daniel Ikwoche, had told the court that Gov. Bello’s chief of staff, Ibrahim Balarabe, filed a petition with the Commissioner of Police over the matter.
Ikwoche said the petitioner alleged that the accused person alongside Akote Sadiq Abubakar, now at large, conspired and posted injurious statements against the state governor on their social media platforms.
According to him, the duo accused the governor of fraudulently diverting public funds to himself and his family, and that the state government had failed to repair roads in the state.
He said the statements were made “intentionally in a bid to incite public disaffection against the Niger state government”.
When the charges were read to him, he pleaded not guilty.
The Prosecutor thereafter prayed the court for adjournment to enable police complete its investigation into the case.
The accused person’s counsel, A. I Mustapha, however, applied for the bail of his client, which was objected to by the prosecution counsel on grounds that it would jeopardize ongoing investigation.
In her ruling, magistrate Hauwa Baba Yusuf granted the accused person bail in the sum of N500, 000 and a surety in like sum who must not be below grade level 17 in the state or federal civil service.
She said that the person must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court and submit the C of O to the court registry.
She adjourned the matter until Dec. 17 for further mention.