Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Elder statesman and Third Republic politician Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa has condemned the arrest and detention of Nasturah Ashir Sheriff, the leader of the Coalition of Northern Youths, who led a protest in Katsina earlier in the week.
Tofa appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order his release from detention, saying the arrest could ’cause more hatred against the government.’
The former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) cautioned authorities to be lenient to the protest leader ‘before a single match ignites a forest and conflagrate the entire North and eventually the country.’
In a statement made available to Daily Sun in Kano on Thursday, Tofa warned the president that:
‘So many people are angry about so many things. If this collective anger is tickled and pushed by a few who may have started some illegal action somewhere, it will easily spread.
‘The 2011 violence destruction and death that occurred when it was rumoured that General Muhammadu Buhari was denied victory will be child’s play this time around,’ Tofa said.
He stated that the arrest and detention of the leader of the Coalition was ‘illegal’, adding that ‘even during… military rule, citizens would demonstrate peacefully about matters that worry the entire country…
Tofa reminded the authorities that ‘Nigerians are very angry! Insecurity is everywhere, poverty, joblessness and now COVID-19, disease, despair and desperation have eaten deep into the people’s patience and good sense.
‘And for the police or the security services to arrest anyone for peaceful demonstration is not only illegal but an attempt to discredit the government and cause more hatred against the government.
‘President Buhari should be very careful. He should begin to know and appreciate his true and sincere friends and get rid of his enemies who do tremendous harm to his image and his own future well-being and safety. He must remember that in three years time someone else will be president, Tofa stated.
“I and other Nigerians condemn the arrest of Nasturah Sheriff and other Nigerians who were either killed or injured simply because they came out to demonstrate and make their views known in a peaceful manner.’