Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina state has allegedly arrested a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) for over twenty days for posting details of a fertilizer scam on social media platform, Facebook, according to Premium Times.
On Thursday, August 28, 2014, the student, Abdulmalik Sa’idu,was said to have been invited to the Katsina state government house by a caller who said he had a message for him, but he was arrested upon his arrival and taken to Batagarawa station on the orders of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shehu Koko who was allegedly doing the bidding of the governor.
Although he has not been formally charged, his father – Maiyawo Sa’idu said he has been accused of attempting to defraud Sani Makana, the state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs to the tune of N3 million after cloning governor Shema’s phone number.
He said: “I think they are trying to frame him. I know my son cannot clone the governor’s number and call a commissioner to put three million into his account,” adding that Abdulmalik was apprehended for posting details of a alleged fertilizer scam on Facebook.
Mr. Saidu said his son’s arrest, some state officials had warned him against criticizing the governor publicly, with the general manager of Katsina Road Maintenance Agency, Jamilu Umar, allegedly threatening to pay N2 million to thugs or policemen to kill Abdumalik.
Attempts by Premium Times to contact Sani Malumfashi, the chief press secretary to the governor was rebuffed after he was told that the call was connected to Abdulmalik’s case.
Mr. Saidu said he was concerned about his son’s well being after he and other relatives were bared from visiting him in detention.
In his words: “For the first week they used to bring him out to me. He would eat in front of me and they would take him back to the cell but for more than 12 days now, we have not see. The DPO (Divisional Police Officer) told me they have a directive from the Government House not to bring him out for his family or anybody in Katsina to see him.”
A Kaduna based lawyer, Akin Ajayi who has been aiding the family said he could not obtain the release for Abdulmalik as the DPO of the Batagarawa police station said the orders against such came from “above”.
Ajayi further added that the governor was breaking the law for detaining Abdulmalik for more than two days. He said: “The governor is a lawyer, his deputy is a lawyer and the attorney general is a lawyer and they all know that it is wrongful of them to arrest someone and keep him in detention for more than 48 hours on a frivolous claim that the boy cloned the governor’s number and wanted to collect N3 million and some other concocted allegations which are not proven.
And they now kept the boy incommunicado. His family cannot reach him, and these days because of the security situation in the north, he could be killed,” he added.
Mr. Ajayi further threatened to send a petition to the National Human Rights Commission and the Inspector General of Police if the boy wasn’t released.
Both the DPO of the station and Abubakar Sadiq, the police public relations officer declined making any comments as to whose orders it was to detain Abdulmalik for more than forty eight hours.