• Andy Hobson

Radio Silence of Nigerian Authorities continues.

This is the latest update on Mubarak's situation and sadly we appear to be no further forward. He is still being held incommunicado and is STILL being denied access to a lawyer. We can gain no information on his state of health and things are not looking good.

So we really need to go into high gear. Flood the media with requests to report on this outrageous abuse of human rights, contact your Minister for Africa/African Affairs and demand they take political and diplomatic action. Badger the Nigerian authorities to do their job properly. Starting with these:

  1. Kano Assistant Inspector General, Sadiq Bello: 234 803 314 1343

  2. Kano State Commissioner of Police, Habu Sani: 234 803 245 1594

  3. Police Public Relations Office, Abuja: 234 803 837 5844

Humanists International, Atheists United, Henry Consulting LLC, and Spectrum Experience LLC have collaborated to put a website together to better inform you how you can add your voice effectively to our campaign, which you can find by following this link;

You can also write to your embassy, if you don't know the address, no problem, a comprehensive list of Nigerian embassies worldwide can be found here. And if you don't know quite what to say, what follows is a draft template you can use:

Dear [name of ambassador]

I am writing to you regarding the case of Mubarak Bala, President of the Nigerian Humanist Association. News of his arrest on April 28th, 2020 in Kaduna by police officers from Kano State Police Command has spread around the world. I am writing to you from [your country] and am demanding that your office help me with the following:

Confirmation is required of where exactly Mr Bala is being held and if he has been formally charged and I would like to see a copy of any paperwork associated with the charges.

Mr Bala must be granted access to his legal team immediately.

If Mr Bala was not charged within the 24 hours specified in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, then I demand his immediate release.

It is also requested that Mr Bala be inspected by a medical professional in order to confirm his health and wellbeing, and that he be moved to a neutral area of Nigeria, where he can be tried fairly.

I await your prompt response.

Yours Sincerely,
[your name]

The well known African Humanist activist, Leo Igwe recently had this to say:

As you could imagine it was a long weekend, a very long Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, the lawyer called to inform me that the police did not allow him to see Mubarak, that the principal officers were not on seat. Then he said, "we have to leave it until Monday".

Gosh! Monday! Monday (today) seemed like a week. In fact I have lived that Henry van Dyke's quote "Time is too slow for those who wait". 

As a way to creatively wait for today, I was, among other things, calling and texting the police authorities. I urged them to allow the lawyer to see and meet with Mubarak today.  Now there was this comment on Mubarak's case from the director of a humanist charity, Hank Pellissier. I liked it and thought it would help the police in their investigation. I forwarded the message to the Commissioner of Police (CP) via his Whatsapp number. The post says:

1. Mubarak did not make his statements in Nigeria, he made them on the internet, in cyberspace. Facebook is headquartered in California USA. Nigerian law only applies to Nigeria, not the rest of the universe.

2. Blasphemy cannot be defined because what is blasphemy to one person is not blasphemy to another. Example: when you say "ALLAH IS GOD" that is blasphemous to non-Muslims not to Muslims.

3. Good people Want To Do Good Deeds. I propose that this unfortunate incident is resolved by apologies from both sides, and mutually feeding the poor people in Kano-with expenses saved by mediating this immediately.

I thought that the police should see this because this comment resonated with some wisdom. I forwarded it to the CP Kano for his attention and use. I did not expect a reply.  But by a quarter past midnight, I got a reply from him that says: "What about the mobile data that made him to access the internet and connect the(sic) Facebook. Is it also California? " 

Then he added: "PhD???? Critical thinking/Reasoning????"  When I saw this message I said: Wow! What a police officer! First as I said, I never expected a reply. Even if I expected any it was something in form of an acknowledgement. Something like: Thank you for this message we shall integrate it in our investigation of the case. Obviously, he/they must have done some background check on me and found out that I had a PhD and involved in promoting of critical thinking and reasoning. And for CP Kano, the message that I sent put a question mark on my doctoral degree and critical thinking program.

Hence he wrote: "PhD???? Critical thinking/Reasoning????.  I sent him a short reply: "Dear Sir, Did you take a critical look at what I sent before questioning my qualifications? That was a forwarded (not a direct) message that could help you in your investigation. I drew your attention to it. But you keep speaking like a judge, (not a police officer who is conducting an investigation). So you are prosecuting Mubarak for using Nigerian mobile data to do what?"  He has not replied and I hope he does not.  I mean why can't this Nigerian police officer conduct himself professionally for once, at least in this case. The world is watching.

Yes, the world is watching, but we need to do so much more than just watch. We need to take action, we need to stand up and be counted. We need them to hear our voices!

To misquote Martin Niemöller in his poem, First They Came...

First they came for Mubarak Bala, and I did not speak out—
 Because I was not a Nigerian.
Then they came for the atheists, and I did not speak out—
 Because I was not an atheist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
 Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We cannot stress enough, just how serious this situation is! Mubarak Bala is being denied a voice, so he's is relying on us to speak... Not speak, SHOUT on his behalf.

If you want to become involved with this, or any of our other initiatives, please consider joining the International Association of Atheists (IAA). You can do so by clicking here. We are far more powerful with numbers.

  • To donate for Mubarak's legal fees, please click here.

  • To sign the petition, click here.

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