BY JIDE AJANI, EDITOR, NORTHERN OPERATIONS
There were strong indications, at the weekend, that the officials of the Mallam Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Leaders Political Forum (NLPF), Mallam Bello Abdulkadir and Bibi Farouk, who were arrested, last Wednesday, by officers of the State Security Service, SSS, cooperated with the security outfit.
Abdulkadir was released on Thursday night, but Farouk remained in detention.
Sunday Vanguard established that it was the arrest of Abdulkadir, who is the secretary of the NPLF, on Wednesday morning, that led to the other arrest of Farouk, who had served as the National Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but whose recent major political appointment was his job as the Director of Youths, Atiku Campaign Organisation.
It was learnt that both men made useful statements to the SSS.
A source said “the investigations were without prejudice to whatever organisation the persons arrested may belong to. The job at hand is of utmost importance and we are making progress”.
Asked to explain further on what constitutes progress with the investigations, especially against the backdrop of the communiqué issued by the NPLF after its meeting, on Friday, the source made it clear that “progress means co-operation of the arrested persons”.
The source said the findings were “helpful” but refused to go any further.
The NPLF had condemned the arrest of both men in its communiqué thus: “The Forum was taken by surprise by the sudden invitation extended to some members of its secretariat by the Department of State Security, which has led to their inexplicable detention and called on the Federal Government to order their release without further delay. The Forum was saddened by the fact that just over a month to the general elections in April, an atmosphere capable of promoting the freedom of the electorate to choose their leaders was yet to emerge. It called on the authorities concerned to give practical expression to the oft-repeated commitment of the government to free, fair and credible elections or risk reducing the exercise to an avenue for the waste of public resources only to undermine the legitimate aspiration of Nigerians to make their votes count this time around”.
NPLF restated its commitment to the principle of zoning, insisting that “regardless of the outcome of the recent presidential primary elections, the Forum will continue to stand on the principles it has espoused, i.e. justice, equity and fairness to all, encapsulated in the principles and practice of zoning and rotation of public offices among the diverse peoples of Nigeria, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and in the constitution of the ruling political party of today. It calls on Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the forthcoming general elections to re-establish and strengthen these principles in order to secure long term peace, unity and political stability in the country”.
Sunday Vanguard was told that “at the appropriate time, the facts of the matter would be made known to members of the public and it would be left to them to determine whether the SSS was playing politics or doing its job the best possible way”.
The source further declared that the linkage being drawn between the negotiations of President Goodluck Jonathan and the NPLF was not helping matters because, according to him, “the investigations being carried out are of utmost necessity and without bias and, therefore, on-going negotiation talks being referred to may take a back burner”.
However, Sunday Vanguard has also been able to discover that some leaders of the NPLF are already exploring possibilities of getting to the root of the matter.
Our source, while responding to the charge from the NPLF that the state may be attentive to frame their members in an alleged ‘poison’ saga, said: “Attempt to interfere with investigations would not be helpful.
“People can alleged or insinuate anything they want to but a thorough investigation is being carried out”.