A student of the National Open University of Nigeria, Abdulmalik Sa’idu, has been languishing in a police cell for over 20 days on the orders of the Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, for posting details of an alleged fertiliser scam in the state on his Facebook timeline.
According to Premium Times, Mr.Sa’idu’s family and lawyer said, Abdulmalik was first invited to the Katsina Government House on August 28 by a phone caller who claimed he had a message for him.
But when Abdulmalik arrived at the governor’s office, he was promptly arrested, handcuffed and taken to Batagarawa Police Station just outside the state capital, Katsina, and detained on the orders of Mr.Shema’s aide-de-camp, Shehu Koko, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP. According to his father, Maiyawo Sa’idu, while the young student was not charged with any offence, he was accused of cloning the governor’s phone number and using same to call the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affair, Sani Makana, with instructions that Mr.Makana deposit N3 million in his account. Mr.Sa’idu said his son was innocent. He said if indeed Abdulmalik cloned the governor’s number to dupe a commissioner he wouldn’t be tricked to come to the Government House to be arrested.
Abdulmalik was arrested because he posted details of an alleged fertiliser scam by the governor on his Facebook page. Mr.Saidu said prior to his son’s illegal detention, some officials of the state government had warned his son to desist from criticising the governor on Facebook. On one occasion, the General Manager of Katsina State Road Maintenance Agency, Jamilu Umar, threatened to pay N2 million to thugs or policemen to kill Abdulmalik if he doesn’t stop criticising the governor publicly, Mr.Saidu said.
Governor Shema’s Chief Press Secretary, SaniMalumfashi, rejected repeated calls made to his mobile phone after the Premium Times reporter told him he was calling about Abdumalik’s case. The Saidus’ case comes days after global rights group, Amnesty International, released a damning report accusing the Nigerian police of arbitrarily arresting, torturing and killing thousands of Nigerians without following legal process.
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