How Nigerian government duped me, rendered me homeless — Journalist Salkida

Ahmed Salkida
Ahmed Salkida

A Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, on Tuesday accused the Nigerian government of rendering him homeless, saying he felt “duped” into speaking well of the government after he was declared wanted by the Army.

“I was made to say all was well,” Mr. Salkida said on Twitter moments ago. “I thought they were going to undo what they have done, but it’s clear the plot is to ruin my life completely.”

Mr. Salkida was among those declared wanted by the Nigerian Army on August 14 over alleged ties to the extremist Boko Haram sect.

He returned to Nigeria on September 5 and was immediately taken into custody by the State Security Service.

Two days later, Mr. Salkida came out to debunk reports that he was arrested.

“Contrary to reports, I was not arrested. I had very engaging conversations with officers. The atmosphere was mutually respectful,” Mr. Salkida said in a September 7 tweet. “The discussions opened useful insights that are benefiting to both sides on the discussion table. I wish to thank most especially family.”

The Nigerian government and security agencies did not issue any statement about Mr. Salkida’s arrest, but the military had said in August that the journalist and his two colleagues were never declared wanted.

Instead, the Defence Headquarters said they were invited to help with the war against Boko Haram.

But Mr. Salkida, in his tweets, said the Nigerian government ruined his life by declaring him wanted while performing his legitimate duties as a journalist.

“My life is ruined,” Mr. Salkida said. “I have been rendered homeless. I have been told that I have NO rights at all, my family is scared. My crime is journalism.

“I have been silent. I have given leaders the benefit of doubt, but now it is time to fight back while I can. My life is in danger!”

“What kind of government will declare a citizen wanted for doing nothing but journalism, ruined my life and that of my family. Government just said ‘it was a misunderstanding,’ but to hell with you, you are on your own. What kind of government will do this to a harmless patriotic citizen.”

Mr. Salkida’s comment elicited mostly sympathetic reactions from Nigerians.

A human rights activist and social critic, Kayode Ogundamisi, said Mr. Salkida committed a “big mistake” when he came out to “cover up” for government.

“We all knew it was highly unlikely that the Nigerian security agencies or soldiers, for that matter, would treat someone they’ve been looking for in such a nice manner as painted by Mr. Salkida after his release, Mr. Ogundamisi said. “Even if he were, he shouldn’t have come out in that blistering way.”

“I have not seen a naive action of such a scale in a long time.”

Mr. Ogundamisi said Mr. Salkida was now trapped in the country and at risk of being abducted by Boko Haram, or even face worse ordeals.

“Let’s face it, this gentleman came to Nigerian on an emergency travel certificate,” Mr. Ogundamisi said. “Not only would it be very difficult for him to travel out of the country again to meet his family, he would also have to start spending his days watching his back because Boko Haram would most likely be on his trail.”

Mr. Ogundamisi implored the Nigerian government, and President Buhari in particular, to honour all assurances they gave Mr. Salkida and ensure his safety since he was not charged to court after turning himself in.

“President Buhari must understand that this case is not about Nigeria or Africa but of press freedom across the world because it is now clear that the government has no case against him,” Mr. Ogundamisi said. “Before him is an opportunity to show the world that he cherishes human rights and press freedom by honouring any kind of agreement or guarantees they gave Mr. Salkida while in their custody.”

Mr. Salkida did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ email seeking clarification about the government agency he entered into agreement with.

Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comments.

The State Security Service has not named a new spokesman since its former one retired a year ago.

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  • ayobamiba

    This is integrity deficient government, believe their propaganda and lies at the risk of your life.Mr sakida you are lucky that efcc have not grabbed you and offer you olisa metus treatment.

  • vagabonds in power

    Even a Donkey will not trust his life to Monsters like the Apes in APC———-No matter what——————what type of promises will make huim believe a man like Buhari–Has he ever spoken truth to any–Look at the way he is treating Jonathan–the man who handed over peacefully to him—-I do not understand that type of DNA in Nigerians–trust a man like Buhari after the mess he made of the country–Buhari is a dying man ready to go down with any————–We are in a quasi military regime—-now not a civilian government—–The same soldiers that ruined the country over 55 yrs ago———— are the ones in power again——————Forget it Nigeria is not going anywhere with these Fulani ROGUES and Yoruba THIEVES in APC—

    • Mufu Ola

      Cost of medication for BP has gone you know.Don’t throw your family into distress.

  • Burning Spear

    Shagari’s regime (1979-1983), incurred Buhari’s wrath when it decided to investigate the US$2.8 billion that disappeared from the Midland Bank, London account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, (NNPC), during General Obasanjo’s era as military head of state that preceded Shagari’s. Dr. Olusola Saraki, Turaki of Ilorin, was the majority party leader of the Senate at the time and he headed the Senate Committee set up to trace the stolen money after some three years of clamour for such an investigation by members of the civil society. The money was traced to the Midland Bank London branch fixed account of Buhari, Obasanjo’s appointee as military head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company.On the 31st December, 1983, Buhari struck under the cover of the political commotion that trailed the presidential election results. Buhari generally had no agenda for leadership but vendetta against those he called critics and rabble-rousers. Buhari did not see any moral wrong in his conversion of our oil money into his personal use. Rather he railed at the press and what he described as the self-righteous sections of the country for making a big deal out of the issue. He locked up without trial, politicians including all the Yoruba governors under Awo and Late Fela among others–Sadly the same Yorubas are aiding Bingo Buhari to destroy the economy again-for the second time running–what a shame-

  • NinjaK

    Salkida, dont worry.
    Lie Mohammed will soon announce on NTA that you have been very well received, lodged in a 10-Star Hotel, all your expenses paid, whilst they look for a befitting mansion for you and your family from Dubai.
    Dont worry – you are in “God will do it” country!