The publisher was arrested on Tuesday.
Over 20 hours after the arrest of Tukur Mamu, the Publisher of the Desert Herald Newspaper, the Nigerian Police is yet to confirm his arrest or state the reason for such.
Mr. Mamu was arrested in Kaduna at about 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday and taken away by plain cloth police officers to Abuja in an unmarked Honda CRV.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Kaduna Police Command, the spokesperson, Aminu Lawan, said he was not aware of Mr. Mamu’s arrest.
“I’m not aware, arrested by who? Who arrested him? Kaduna is his house abi? So you can’t just say he was arrested by Kaduna police, police officers can also come from Lagos? Mr. Lawan said.
Sources both in Kaduna and Abuja told PREMIUM TIMES that the journalist was taken to Abuja.
But when contacted, the Abuja police spokesperson, Altine Daniel, denied that Mr. Mamu was brought in to the Abuja command of the police.
“In Abuja, apart from the FCT command, we have the federal SARS, we have CID, we have IG monitoring route and in FCT command as far as I’m concerned we don’t have anybody like that here. Talk to the Force PRO if there’s anything like that they’ll be able to know,” Ms. Daniel said.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, confirmed that the publisher was taken to Abuja after his arrest in Kaduna.
“Mamu is here in Zone 7, I met him and I spoke with him; when I entered there on the entrance of the station is written Zone 7
Headquarters Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. The station is behind the Methodist Church,” a journalist who visited the publisher on Wednesday said.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 7, Suleiman Abba, he denied that officers under him arrested the journalist.
“Zone 7 has no case with the said Mamu, you can confirm if he’s in Wuse police station because we share the same compound with them and most people don’t know this.” Mr. Suleiman Abba said.
Efforts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank
Mba, on the issue have been futile as his mobile phone was not reachable as at press time.
Though the police are yet to confirm the arrest of Mr. Mamu or state the reason for his arrest, the publisher has been having a running battle with the Abuja Minister, Bala Mohammed, who accused him of blackmail.
The minister’s camp accused the journalist of demanding gratification to stop the publication of false information in a book he is writing.
The publisher had in a telephone interview denied asking for any gratification from the minister.
“Where is the proof that I asked for land or money. I challenge them to produce it,” he said.
Mr. Mamu said he will publish his book, adding that “they are free to challenge the facts we have provided in the book.”
“In any case, what are they afraid of, the minister is a public
servant and should not exercise any fear over his actions being
publicized,” he said.