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Fmr Presidential Candidate Condemns Arrest, Detention of Northern Youth Leader

…Says, “Arrest undemocratic; can ignite more strife.”

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Bashir Tofa

Second Republic politician-cum former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, NEC, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, has called for the release of arrested Northern Youth Leader, Nastura Ashir Shariff, while describing his detention by the government as “undemocratic.”

Shariff was alleged to have led the protest in Katsina, against continued killings and destruction of property by armed bandits in some parts of the state.

“The arrest and detention of Alhaji Nasturah Ashir Sheriff, the leader of the Coalition of Northern Youth, is utterly wrong, undemocratic and a very bad example of intolerance.

“It is unwise and unjust. Not even during sensible and caring Military Rules would citizens demonstrate peacefully about a matter that worries the entire country, and anyone be arrested.

“Is this a notice that nobody is allowed to say anything or to express a view, even peacefully? Is this the Democracy Nigeria is showing to the world? We hope not,” Tofa said.

He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately “order the release of the young man with an apology.”

According to Torfa, Shariff should be released “before a single match ignites the forest and conflagrates the entire north and, eventually, the country.

 “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 Gen. Muhammad Buhari was denied his victory will be a child’s play this time around.”

Alhaji Tofa, who spoke in an interview, pointed out that “Nigerians are very angry! Insecurity everywhere, poverty, joblessness and, now, Covid-19, disease, despair and desperation have eaten deep into 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, probably, a deliberate attempt to dishonour this Government and cause more hatred against it.

“Just today, because of Nasturah’s uncalled for arrest, I have the nasty and angry, often abusive words, uttered against the President by hitherto his supporters.”

He reiterated that, “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, someone else will be President.

“I, and millions of 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. We demand Nasturah’s immediate release, and all those in detention for such purposes. We are in a Democracy,” he added.

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