By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Civil Society Organisations, CSOs numbering 49, weekend, accused Nigerian Police Force on alleged harassment of a lawyer, Sai’da Sa’ad, based in Kano, over alleged short audio clip released on Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on alleged moves to make money out of COVID-19 pandemic, which they demanded stop to her harassment.
The demand was made in a statement signed by leaders of the CSOs which include Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Centre for Democratic Research and Training (CRDDERT); Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); Women In Media; Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD); Organization for Community Civic(OCCEN); Zero-Corruption Coalition (ZCC); Accountability Maternal New-born and Child Health in Nigeria (AMHiN); Partners on Electoral Reform; African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL); National Procurement Watch Platform; Say NO Campaign—Nigeria; Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civil Education (CHRICED); Social Action; Community Action for Popular Participation. Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP); Global Rights; Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE); Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA); Tax Justice and Governance Platform; Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria;
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Others are Women In Nigeria; African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD); Women Advocate Research And Documentation Centre; Community Life Project; Nigerian Feminist Forum; Alliances for Africa; Spaces for Change; Nigerian Women Trust Fund; Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa; BudgiT Foundation; State of the Union (SOTU); Basic Rights Action; Femi Falana Chamber; Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution; Kano Civil Society Forum; Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC); Network for Development Foundation (NDF)Kano; Professor Jibrin Ibrahim; Senior Fellow Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja; Project Alert; Order Paper; Media Rights Agenda; Centre for Labour Studies; Hauwa Shekarau Chamber; Partners West Africa;.International Press Centre;Women’sRights Advancement and Protection Alternative(WRAPA);.Socio Economic Rights & Accountability (SERAP).
The statement reads in part, “On Wednesday, 16/9/20, about 5pm, Barrister Sa’ida Sa’ad was at her matrimonial home in Kaduna when a group of men and women in mufti banged on the house claiming they were policemen from Kano who had been sent to Kaduna to arrest her, take her to Kano for interrogation and prosecution for defamation against the Kano State Government. They arrived in an unmarked bus and silver Honda car.
“They were led by one ASP Zainab. Given the spate of kidnappings in the country and the fact that they had no arrest warrant, she refused to come out of the house and were eventually persuaded to leave.
“Then yesterday, Friday afternoon at about 1.15 pm, when most men have gone to the mosque, a team of police came with an arrest warrant. They forced their way into the house asking for Sa’ida and intimidating the house hold, taking pictures of plate numbers of the cars in the house. Saida was not found in the house, so after sometime they left.
“Sa’ida had many months ago at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic done a short audio clip saying the Kano Governor is trying to make money of the Covid-19 program which went viral and could not have sunk well with the governor or his supporters. Apparently, it is payback time for the Governor:
“Barrister Sai’da Saad is willing and ready for any charges the Kano State Government might have as long as correct procedure is followed. We have a number of questions:
“On what authority did these police personnel leave their jurisdiction, come to Kaduna to arrest her without a warrant?
“Why do State Governors feel empowered to illegally use police officials to go to different States in the country to arrest their critics?
“We demand an immediate stop to the harassment of barrister Sai’da Sa’ad.”