by Rachel Ogbu
The Kaduna State Police Command detained former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Yerima for allegedly making a seditious statement live on a Hausa phone-in-programme, Hannu Dayawa, on Radio Nigeria, Kaduna State.
He was picked up on Saturday from the radio station as a guest where reportedly declared that if the Independent National Electoral Commission refused to register the newly formed All Progressives Congress, leaders of the party would go on a peaceful protest to the Eagle Square, Abuja until INEC registered the party.
Considering the fragile security situation in the State, the police interrogated him to find out what the planned protest was going to be like if it was to hold. Three hours later, he was released after making a written statement.
Kaduna state Police Commissioner, Olufemi Adenaike, said he was swamped with calls from the public regarding the provoking statement.
“All I did was to go to the radio house and I met the distinguished Senator and I said, Please, I want to know what you said,” he said.
“He (Yerima) said, ‘no problem, let me finish. And I will come with you to the office.’ That was what transpired.”
“If you were in my shoes as the commissioner of police and you start getting calls from concerned citizens of the state that somebody has made an inciting statement on radio, will you go to burukutu (local brew) joint and start drinking? You have to make a move.
“I am surprised that people are saying many things like, ‘CP has arrested him, CP has orders from Abuja.’ The distinguished senator is not under arrest.
“All we did was to find out what he said. And he said they were going to go on a peaceful demonstration. And I said define what you mean by peaceful demonstration, considering that Kaduna State is a volatile state. I don’t want anything to happen in my domain. I am completely satisfied with what he has said. And he is free to go. There was no directive from anywhere. We were doing things on our own,” he said.
According to reports, the senator’s supporters had gathered at the police headquarters but were resisted by the policemen on guard.
At the police headquarters, Yerima’s statement was based on what he said during the radio programme.
The statement read in parts:
“My name is Senator Ahmed Rufai Sani former Governor of Zamfara State, a Nigerian and now a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Kaduna invited me for a phone-in programme which took place today March 9, 2013 at 10am and ended at 12pm. I was asked if there is any move not to register our new party, APC, what can we do? And my response was that if we met all the legal requirements and INEC refused to register us, we shall embark on peaceful protest to INEC until we are registered. Then, the moderator asked me what I meant by peaceful protest? Then I responded by saying just like it happened in Egypt.
“We can go to Eagle Square together with Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Sardauna Kano, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, and others to mobilise people without using any weapon for a peaceful protest until our party is registered.”