DIRTY GAME: FCT Minister Bully Desert Herald Publisher?
The publisher of Desert Herald, a Kaduna-based newspaper, Tukur Mamu, has been arrested.
Mamu was arrested in his office in Kaduna yesterday about 2pm by armed policemen numbering six.
Mamu’s arrest was said to be sequel to the orders of a magistrates’ court in a case filed by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, and one Ibrahim Bamoi against the publisher.
Mamu has been having a running battle with Mohammed over his (Mamu) insistence on publishing a book entitled “FCT Administration: The Rot Within!” which is about the administration of Mohammed as the FCT minister.
Mohammed had filed a case against the propriety of the publication of the book before an Abuja high court which is still pending before the court.
LEADERSHIP also gathered that when Mamu’s lawyer, family and members of staff went to the police headquarters in Kaduna to seek his release, they were told that the publisher had been moved to the Police CID in Garki, Abuja.
A committee had been inaugurated on June 27, 2013, by the NUJ national president, Muhammad Garba, to look into the matter, following a petition submitted to the NUJ by the special assistant, media, to the FCT minister, Mr Nosike Ogbuenyi, against the publisher. B ut Mamu had, in an open letter dated June 29 to the NUJ national president and published on page 17 of LEADERSHIP on Monday, July 1, given some conditions which must be met before he could appear before the committee.
The letter reads in part, “That for me to participate in the proceedings, the NUJ should reconsider the composition of the three-man committee for the sake of fairness, transparency and to give credibility to the outcome of their report. Only one out of the three members, Mr Akin Orimolade, is independent of government (working with a private paper) while the other two are currently under the payroll of federal and state governments. “Membership of such a sensitive committee, with the desperation and resources at the disposal of our detractors, should be highly independent stakeholders with years of experience and record of proven integrity and honesty.
“I also suggest -- but not as part of my condition to participate -- that your good office should increase the members of the committee as three members only can easily be manipulated and may not do a thorough job within only one week of their mandate. There is no justification rushing to conclude a job of this nature; doing so will not only create suspicion but will be detrimental to fairness and justice. The committee should be given reasonable time to perform to the satisfaction of the two parties and Nigerians.
“That I will accept to participate and talk only in the presence of the said petitioner, Sen. Bala Muhammad. As a fundamental right, I want to sit face to face with the petitioner in person to enable me ask him questions on the contents of his so-called petition against me to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of his allegations. That the hearing should be done in any secured place within Abuja or Kaduna and that the NUJ should make a proper arrangement for my personal security during the proceedings because, ever since the onslaught began, there have been several threats to my life by the agents of the petitioner.
“I want to assure your good office that as long as all the above observations and conditions, which are purely fundamental human rights and issues of due process and law that will benefit all the contending parties are taken into cognizance, approved and applied and I am duly communicated by your office in that regard with reasonable notice due to my very tight schedules and engagements within and outside the country, I will be ready to answer any allegation in your historic hearing.”
All efforts to reach the minister for his own side of the story proved abortive as numerous calls and text messages were not replied up until press time.