The police in Bauchi State have declared Islamic cleric, Idris Abdulaziz, who fled the state over alleged persecution by Governor Bala Mohammed, wanted.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Abdulaziz’s lawyer, Ahmad Musa, said the cleric fled into exile after security agents raided his Dutsen Tanshi residence in the Bauchi metropolis on 24 January to execute a search warrant.
The Bauchi State Government has since filed charges against Mr Abdulaziz, who supported Mr Muhammad’s main opponent, Abubakar Sadiq of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 18 March 2023 governorship election.
The government charged Mr Abdulaziz with “inciting disturbances, insulting or inciting contempt of religious creed”. The cleric has denied any wrongdoing.
“Abdulaziz left Bauchi State to flee persecution and arbitrary arrest and detention by the Bauchi government following trumped-up charges accusing him of committing blasphemy against religious creed. He has successfully left Bauchi to a safe place,” the lawyer earlier told PREMIUM TIMES.
“The case went from the Upper Sharia Court 1, Bauchi state to High Court, Bauchi and now it is properly before the Court of Appeal, Jos Division”, Mr Musa said.
On Thursday, the police declared Mr Abdulaziz wanted for contempt of court.
The police in a bulletin through its Criminal Investigation Department gave details of Mr Abdulaziz and offered a reward for his arrest.
However, when reached to comment on the reward, the police spokesperson in the state, Ahmad Wakili, did not explain the details of the reward. Instead, he asked our reporter to report what is contained only in the wanted person details provided by the police.
Reacting to the development, Mr Abdulaziz’s lawyer, Mr Musa, told our reporter that the declaration by the police is not something new, stating that the state government was using state resources to suppress the opposition.
“This is not something new, Malam Idris Abdulaziz is the only person speaking the truth to power. The state government is using state resources to suppress him and silence him, which they will fail”. Mr Musa said
Mr Abdulaziz supported Governor Muhammad in the 2019 governorship election but turned against the governor in 2023.
Mr Abdulaziz’s ordeals began last April when he told a gathering that he does not need the support of any person when in difficult times, not even Prophet Muhammad, but only God.
“In difficult times I don’t need the support of Ibrahim Niase, Abdulkadir Jelani, Ahmad Tijjani (Sufi scholars), and even Prophet Muhammad except for Allah,” Mr Abdulaziz, a strong Sunni Muslim said in his lecture on the oneness of God.
The comments generated controversy in the state and beyond. While his brethren in the Sunni sect supported him, those in the Sufi sect called for his prosecution, accusing him of disrespecting a religious creed. The state government later took over the case and prosecuted Mr Abdulaziz.
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