The International Press Centre (IPC), has joined voices with Human Right bodies in Nigeria to demand that the charges brought against Kufre Carter, sports presenter with XL 106.9 FM in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State be dropped.
The call was made on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Lagos by Mr Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director of IPC,
“We recall that Kufre Carter was detained by the Department of State Security agents over a leaked telephone conversation he had with a medical doctor on the method deployed by the Akwa Ibom state government in handling the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
“Mr. Carter was arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Uyo presided over by Magistrate Winifred M. Umohandy Esq on a three-count charge bothering on defamation of character on Wednesday, 29th April, 2020
The outrageous details of his bail conditions include: the payment of the sum of Three (3) Million Naira with a surety in like sum who must be a Permanent Secretary with the Akwa Ibom State Government and the provision of “a letter of identification” from his Village Head to the Court” , he lamented.
Mr Lanre Arogundade who denounced the stringent bail conditions imposed on Carter noted that once the terms of a bail are too stringent or excessive, it amounts to denial of bail.
The IPC Executive Director said that the bail conditions are a ploy to continue to detain journalist Carter for as long as possible in flagrant violation of his right to fair hearing. “It is clearly unacceptable and should be dropped”, he added.
“How does the magistrate expect journalist Carter to travel to his village at a time of Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions on movement?” Lanre queried.
According to him, IPC demands that Mr. Carter be given fulfillable bail conditions while indeed all the charges brought against him should be dropped.