NIGERIA: Rhoda Jatau released on bail

Rhoda JatauChristian healthcare worker Rhoda Jatau (46) from Bauchi state in northern Nigeria, who was accused of blasphemy and jailed in May 2022, has been granted bail and freed. The charges against her have not been dropped, however, and a court hearing is scheduled for 19 December.

Rhoda was released from prison in Bauchi state on 8 December after 18 months in detention on charges of inciting public disturbance, exciting contempt of a religious creed (the civil equivalent of blasphemy under Sharia law) and cyberstalking.

On 27 November Bauchi High Court rejected a “no-case submission” request submitted by Rhoda’s defence, ruling that she does have a case to answer.

Solomon Mwantiri, a member of Jatau’s defence team and a local partner of Christian Solidarity International, confirmed the news of Rhoda’s release on bail and said that she was undergoing medical checks.

Rhoda’s husband Ya’u Adamu expressed his joy at her release and said that the family is looking forward to celebrating Christmas together. Since her arrest Rhoda has only seen members of her family at court hearings and her husband has been caring for their five children alone.

Rhoda has been in custody since May 2022, when she was arrested after allegedly forwarding a blasphemous video clip to a closed WhatsApp group for staff at the Primary Healthcare Board where she worked. The video clip condemned the lynching of Christian student Deborah Emmanuel in Sokoto state a week earlier.

(Christian Solidarity International)

Photo: Morning Star News/Facebook