A Human Right and Advocacy group, Concerned Nigerians, has condemned the arrest of the founder and president, Chocolate City Entertainment, Audu Maikori over alleged “inciting comments” over the killings in Southern Kaduna.
In a statement signed by the Convener, Deji Adeyanju and made available to newsmen on Saturday, the group described the arrest as taking the country back to the “days of military era when the instruments of state and the state security apparatus were used as tools with which to clamp down on real and perceived enemies of the state.”
“Earlier on today, the Directorate of State Security (DSS) arrested and detained Mr. Audu Maikori, chairman of the Choc City Group, on the orders of a Kaduna State Magistrates’ Court which was obtained at the instance of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
2. This arrest comes after several weeks of threats from the Mallam El-Rufai to arrest, detain and prosecute public commentators over commentary made in respect of the unending killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Kaduna by an armed, dangerous and deadly militia on behalf of herdsmen.
3. We condemn the arrest and detention of Mr. Maikori in its entirety. It is a move reminiscent of the dark days of the military era when the instruments of state and the state security apparatus were used as tools with which to clamp down on real and perceived enemies of the state.
4. The arrest and detention of Mr. Maikori is all the more condemnable once one considers that the Kaduna State government and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, either wilfully or by sheer inability, have proven completely incapable of bringing a halt to the relentless killings in Southern Kaduna.
5. To arrest a prominent voice who seeks a peaceful resolution of the killings and a return to normalcy while being unable, or perhaps unwilling, to arrest the perpetrators of the heinous murders in Southern Kaduna lends credence to the narrative that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari and the Kaduna State Government under Mallam El-Rufai are sympathetic to the cause of the perpetrators of these killings.
6. That this clampdown is being orchestrated by Mallam El-Rufai who enjoyed the rights to freedom of speech during the tenure of the immediate past administration despite making several false, malicious and inciting comments is all the more shocking and ironical.
7. We call on the Federal Government to immediately release Mr. Maikori without any conditions. We also call on the Kaduna State Government to immediately drop these frivolous & ridiculous charges. They are an affront to all known tenets of democracy and are a throwback to a dark era that is better forgotten.
8. Finally, we call on the Federal Government, the Kaduna State Government and all the Security agencies, including the DSS, to focus on the far more important and germane task of halting the killings in Southern Kaduna and bringing the perpetrators of those heinous crimes to justice.
9. Anything less will be viewed for what it is – the abuse of power and the misuse of the apparatus of state to silence important voices that seek to speak up on behalf of the suffering people of Nigeria.
God bless Nigeria.”