Tope Akinyode, National President of Revolutionary Lawyers' Forum, has vowed to challenge the continued detention of Mubarak Bala, President of Humanist Association of Nigeria.

SaharaReporters had in April reported how Mubarak was arrested at his home in Kaduna State.

Mubarak, who has not been heard from since his arrest, is accused of posting comments that were critical of Islam and Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.

Mubarak Bala

According to Akinyode, blasphemy laws have no place in Nigeria's constitutional democracy.

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He described the continued detention of the humanist without any access to his lawyer and family and without being charged to court as ‘very preposterous and undemocratic’.

He said, “Since his arrest in April, nobody knows Mr Bala's whereabouts as he's being held in communicado by state forces. The Nigeria Police purportedly acted on a petition against Bala by some lawyers who alleged blasphemy. Blasphemy laws have no place in Nigeria's constitutional democracy. They derogate from citizens' fundamental human right to freedom of religion guaranteed by Section 38 of Nigeria's constitution. 

“Furthermore, by virtue of Section 39 of the constitution, nobody's fundamental human right to freedom of expression can be curtailed on religious grounds. The continuous detention of Mr Bala without any access to his lawyer and family and without being charged to court is very preposterous and undemocratic. Mr Bala is not a Muslim and cannot therefore be subjected to the Sharia court by any stretch of the imagination. 

“Mr Bala's wife, Mrs Amina Mubarak, has requested me to take up the case. She's very keen on speaking with her husband and introducing his new born baby who was six weeks old at the time of Mr Bala's arrest to him. 

"Accordingly, we shall immediately proceed to court and sue the Nigeria Police Force and every other necessary party aiding the continuous and unjust incarceration of Mr Bala.”

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