The health of Abdulmalik Sa’idu, the National Open University of Nigeria [NOUN] student indefinitely detained on the orders of Kastina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, has deteriorated after being kept in a “dingy solitary cell.”
According to his lawyer, Akin Ajayi, Abdulmalik was rushed to the police hospital in Kastina for emergency treatment over the weekend.
“They kept him in a dungeon. They said nobody should attend to him. That he shouldn’t see the ray of sun. His family members were not allowed to see him. They just confined him in a state of incommunicado. If you keep somebody in a dingy solitary cell for this long, he has to fall sick,” Mr Ajayi said.
His father, Maiyawo Sa’idu, claimed his son was tortured in detention.
“He’s not well. They had to take him to the hospital. They took him to the police hospital and he has been placed on injection. He said he was tortured,” said Mr Sa’idu, his voice heavy with emotion.
In an apparent bid to cover its violation of the constitutional rights of Abdulmalik, the Kastina State government on Monday hurriedly charged him for fraud at the Chief Magistrate Court II in Kastina.
Abdulmalik was arrested and detained at the Batagarawa Police Station after he received a call on August 28 instructing him to come to the government house for a message.
On getting to the government house, he was promptly arrested, handcuffed and taken to Batagarawa Police Station just outside the state capital, Katsina, and detained on the orders of Mr. Shema’s aide-de-camp, Shehu Koko, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP.
Abdulmalik’s father said his son was not initially charged with an offence but was accused of cloning the governor’s phone number and using same to call the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affair, Sani Makana, with instructions that Mr. Makana deposit N3 million in his account.
Mr. Sa’idu said his son was innocent. He said if indeed Abdulmalik cloned the governor’s number to dupe a commissioner he wouldn’t be tricked to come to the Government House to be arrested.
He claimed Abdulmalik was arrested for posting details of an alleged fertiliser scam in the state on his Facebook timeline.
On Friday, Abdulmalik was transferred to the state police headquarters. His father was told that this was necessary to process his bail. However his parents’ hope was dashed after the state government furtively charged him to court on Monday.
“They told us he would be released on Friday but after 5 p.m. we were told to come back the next day. On Saturday they told me they couldn’t release him because the officers in charge were off duty. I even took food to him this morning (Monday) and nothing was said about charging him to court. This evening, I got a call from someone that works at the Magistrate court telling me that he has been arraigned for fraud,” he said.
Mr Ajayi said the government was trying to cover its crime.
He said the government was apparently embarrassed by PREMIUM TIMES’ report published on Saturday about the illegal detention and secretly charged Abdulmalik to court to cover the violation of the student’s rights.
Mr. Ajayi said charging Abdulmalik to court now did not change the fact that the Kastina State government violated the law.
He said the action of the government was tantamount to the re-enactment of the draconian Decree 2 of 1984 propounded by the military that allowed people to be detained indefinitely.
“The ADC and the CSO of the governor detained that boy unduly for a long time. Being a governor does not make you above the law. The governor cannot be operating Decree two of 1984. This is an extension of Decree two of 1984 in which a person can be detained permanently at the power of somebody that is saying he’s from above,” he said.