Stop abducting critics, Concerned Nigerians Group tells Buhari

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Concerned Nigerians for the Protection of Human Rights and the Rule of Law Initiative (also known as “Concerned Nigerians) has called for the immediate release of Salihu Yakasai, popularly known as Dawisu, who was allegedly abducted by officers of the Department of State Services at about 1:00am, on February, few hours after criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of insecurity in Nigeria.

Salihu, who was recently reinstated Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, was sacked by the governor on Friday over his criticism of Buhari’s handling of insecurity following the abduction of schoolgirls in Zamfara state.

“We are totally gobsmacked to note that the government of the day is increasingly becoming insensitive to criticisms, irrespective of the nature of such criticisms. It is even more alarming to note that Mr. Yakassai is a member of the All Progressives Congress, the same party that produced President Buhari. If state actors can indiscriminately arrest members of the President’s party, for criticizing the President, we shudder to imagine what they will do to members of the public and civil society organizations,” the group noted in a statement signed by its convener, Deji Adeyanju.

The group opined that all over the world, criticisms are means by which governments are kept on the right track, stressing that they are not to be met with brutal force like we are presently experiencing in Nigeria.

“We also use this opportunity to reiterate our call for the release of Solomon Akuma who has been detained by the Nigerian Police Force, for over 350 days, because he criticized President Buhari. Solomon Akuma, a young Nigerian Pharmacist has been held incommunicado because of a harmless tweet. This cannot continue! Nigeria practices a constitutional democracy where freedom of speech is one of the pillars upon which the nation is built,” he said.

Concerned Nigerians group added that it is not too late for the government of the day to retrace its steps and release Salihu Yakasai, Solomon Akuma and other prisoners of conscience.

The group also warned the Department of State Services, the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies to always remember that power resides in the people, and one day, the people will take back their power.