The co-onvener of a recent protest against insecurity in Katsina and parts of the north, Nastura Sharif, who was arrested by the police, has been released, an official said late Thursday.
The co-convener of the protest, Bishir Dauda, told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday that his colleague had been released.
Before the confirmation, he had earlier briefed our reporter on how the detained leader of the Coalition of Northern Groups, Mr Sharif, was arrested through sly means by the police.
A police spokesperson did not immediately respond to the allegations Thursday evening when approached.
Mr Sharif was arrested by the police on Tuesday in Katsina and taken to Abuja for allegedly staging the protest ”without the approval of the security agencies.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported how youth across Katsina on Tuesday converged at Katsina town to protest against killings and wanton destructions by bandits.
The peaceful protest was aimed at calling the attention of the government to the rising insecurity in the region.
‘How co-convener was arrested’
The co-convener, Mr Dauda, told PREMIUM TIMES earlier on Thursday, that his colleague was arrested in Katsina shortly after the protest ”while on a thank you visit to the police command following the successful conduct of the protest.”
Mr Dauda said Mr Sharif arrived Katsina State after the protest was over, but he and others voluntarily visited the police command to thank the commissioner ”for professionally handling the protest.”
“After Mr Sharif came, we briefed him how the police escorted us throughout the marching. The police guided us and prevented thugs from infiltrating the protest and causing trouble. The protest was ended peacefully with the help of the police,” he said.
He said Mr Sharif was impressed about the role of the police and wanted to thank the police.
”After that, the commissioner was also happy and commended the peaceful manner, the protest was conducted. He, however, said the Inspector General of Police wanted to talk to Mr Sharif in Abuja,” Mr Dauda said.
He added that when Mr Sharif wanted to use his vehicle, ”the police commissioner insisted that Mr Sharif would be conveyed to Abuja with a police vehicle and that was what happened. We later heard that he was detained by the police in Abuja.”
”The development came to us as a surprise because of the good manner the police commissioner treated us and more importantly, we were just exercising our constitutional right of peaceful protest,” he said.
Katsina is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Earlier, Mr Sharif, had said the protest will hold across northern states on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the police commissioner in Katsina, Sanusi Buba, had said the protest was illegal ”as the protesters did not get the permission of the command before embarking on it”.
He said the police would not tolerate any protest ”because criminal minded persons can utilise the opportunity and infiltrate the gathering to carry out criminal activities”.
The police chief insisted that security had improved in the north compared to the past ”when Boko Haram elements held about 20 local government areas in the North-east.”
The police spokesperson in Katsina, Gambo Isah, did not respond to calls seeking official comment on the official’s claims or the release of the detainee.
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