Buhari Wasn't Arrested For Asking Jonathan To Resign - Falana

Human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has spoken against the sack and detention of a former Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Salihu Tanko Yakasai over his comment on social media.

Salihu who is an aide on media to Governor Ganduje was arrested and subsequently fired from his role after he called for President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC leader’s resignation over the growing insecurity in the country.

Falana who released a statement on Sunday over the development said Salihu is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility for merely exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in Section 39 of the Constitution,1999.

The human rights lawyer went on to recall that between 2013 and 2014, leaders of the APC, including Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, and Alhaji Lai Mohammed all repeatedly asked former President Goodluck Jonathan to resign and got away with it.

Read Also: Ganduje Reinstates Suspended Aide Who Attacked President Buhari

He said they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at material time.

Falana, who is also the Interim Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), wondered why Salihu would be arrested after many civil societies, chieftains of the APC, and both chambers of the National Assembly have called for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment over insecurity.

‘The decision of the founding fathers of the present Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech, which must include freedom to criticize, should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted,’ he said.

‘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 the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Tanko-Yankasai from illegal custody. However, if the State Security Service has evidence that the political detainee has committed any criminal offense known to the law he should be transferred to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution without any delay.’

The Department of State Services (DSS) had on Saturday confirmed that the former aide of the Kano governor is in its custody and they would be making clarifications to Nigerians soon.