Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has reacted to the arrest of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s former Special Adviser on Media, Salihu Tanko Yakasai aka Dawisu
RainSMediaRadio reported Ganduje aide, Dawisu arrested by DSS after criticising Buhari and subsequently sacked by the Kano State government for posting a controversial comment about President Buhari’s administration, asked Buhari to resign over the insecurity challenges in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) led by the Femi Falana (SAN) has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Salihu Tanko-Yakasai from what is termed as an “illegal custody,” the agency emphatically stated that Mr Salihu “was legitimately exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in section 39 of the Constitution.”
Referencing the 2013-2014 protest against former president Jonathan administration which was led by President Buhari himself and other All Progressive Congress (APC) party chieftains which includes Asiwaju Bola Tinibu, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly demand for Jonathan resignation as president, on that note Falana said there is jurisdiction whatsoever to justify Mr Salihu arrest.
Falana wondered why Salihu would be arrested after many civil society, chieftains of the APC and both chambers of the National Assembly have called for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment over insecurity.
The statement read;
“On Friday, February 27, 2021, Mr. Salisu Tanko-Yankassai, the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state called on President Mohammadu Buhari to either guarantee the security of the Nigerian people or resign from office. Even though Mr. Tanko-Yankassai was legitimately exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in section 39 of the Constitution he was sacked by Governor Ganduje and arrested by the State Security Service. ASCAB has confirmed that Mr. Tanko- Yankassai is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility.
“Having regard to the fact that civil rights advocates, retired military officers and political party leaders including chieftains of the All Progressive Congress have repeatedly asked President Buhari to call it quits due to the worsening insecurity in the country there is no justification whatsoever for the arrest and detention of Mr. Tanko- Yankassai.
“In both chambers of the national assembly, there have been strident calls by legislators for President Buhari’s resignation or impeachment on the ground that criminal gangs have taken over the monopoly of violence in the country. Since such concerned citizens were never arrested the ongoing harassment of Mr. Tanko- Yankassai is high-handed, discriminatory, and illegal.
“It is on record that the APC and its leaders including General Mohammadu Buhari; National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu; Malam Nasir El-rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly called for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation between 2013 and 2014. Yet they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time. Since the call for President Buhari’s resignation is likely to continue to be made by other concerned individuals and groups over the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neocolonial State it is pertinent to draw the attention of the State Security Service to the case of Arthur Nwankwo v The State 1985 6 NCLR 228 where the Court of Appeal charged the Nigerian people to engage in relentless criticism of democratically elected governments. In particular, Olajide Olatawura JCA (as he then was of blessed memory) had this to say:
“‘The decision of the founding fathers of the present Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticise should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism in respect of their office so as to ensure that they are accountable to the people. They should not be made to feel that they live in an ivory tower and therefore belong to a different class. They must develop thick skins and where possible, plug their ears with wool if they feel too sensitive or irascible.’
“In view of the foregoing, we demand for the immediate and unconditional relethe ase of Mr Tanko-Yankassai from illegal custody. However, if the State Security Service has evidence that the political detainee has committed any criminal offence known to the law he should be transferred to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution without any delay.”