The Bauchi State chapter of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has confirmed the release of Mrs. Rhoda Jatau on bail by Bauchi State High Court 11, following her detention for blasphemy.
Mr. Mujahid Ibrahim, the Programme Officer of CITAD, revealed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Saturday.
Jatau had been arrested by Bauchi State authorities on May 20, 2022, after riots erupted due to a perceived blasphemous message she sent on WhatsApp. This incident occurred following the murder of Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, who was killed in a mob violence incident over a similar perceived blasphemous message on WhatsApp.
Allegedly charged with offenses including inciting public disturbance, exciting contempt of religious creed, and cyber stalking, under various sections of the Penal Code Law and Cybercrime Prohibition Prevention Act 2015 Laws, Jatau’s case resulted in property destruction and house arson, though no loss of life was reported.
CITAD had been among the Civil Society Organisations in Bauchi State advocating for Jatau’s release since her arrest.
Yunusa Ya’u, CITAD’s Executive Director, had called for Jatau’s release during a news conference addressing the digital rights implications of her continued detention.
Confirming her release, CITAD’s Programme Officer stated, “We have received the news that she has now been released on bail on Friday, and we have been working towards the confirmation of the information since then. Today, we have been able to confirm that she has truly been released on bail and has reunited with her husband and children.”
Reportedly meeting the bail conditions set by Justice Nana Jubrin of Bauchi State High Court 11 on Friday, Jatau has now been released pending the defense phase of the case.