By Sunday Okobi
A pro-democracy group, the Peoples Movement Bauchi (PMB) has endorsed the reported moves by the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs to probe an alleged 12-hour house arrest on November 24 in Bauchi of the immediate past Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, by the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zaki Ahmed.
Describing the alleged house arrest of the former governor in a statement made available to THISDAY by the group Head of Communication and Strategy, Abdulmumin Idris, as sad, crude and barbaric, PMB said the incident was an unwarranted provocation and a reckless invitation to mayhem in the state, praising the former governor for displaying uncommon maturity, calmness and statesmanship while the ordeal lasted.
The group’s Coordinator, Zakare Ibrahim, in the statement at the weekend, urged the House Committee on Police Affairs to leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of the matter and recommend appropriate sanctions against the state’s Police Commissioner and other persons involved to serve as a deterrent to other security officers who endanger democracy in the country by their intemperate intolerance and insensitivity.
According to Ibrahim, the group’s preliminary inquiry into the incident revealed that the former governor’s alleged mistreatment by the state police boss was a calculated plot to embarrass and humiliate Yuguda before a multitude of his supporters in the state who trooped out to welcome him after more than a year’s absence from the country during which he went to take care of his health and treat an undisclosed ailment.
The group also disclosed that after he arrived in the country about a month ago to fully recuperate in Abuja, he decided to visit his family and close relations in Bauchi, prompting him to formally seek the approval of the Inspector-General of Police (IG), the Commandant-General of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) which he got. “While the IG gave him 10 mobile police men for his security, the NSCDC asked its Bauchi State director to do same,” it stated.
PMB added that on the eve of his trip, the former governor got the assurances of the Assistant Inspector-General of the Police in Bauchi, the state’s Directors of DSS, NSCDC and the Commander of the military in the state.
“However, the Police Commissioner called him very late on that day requesting that the visit be cancelled due to what he called high insecurity in the state.
“Yuguda immediately sensed foul play especially after hearing that the state government had issued a statement banning all forms of public processions or rallies. The former governor said since he was not going for any public procession or political rally he had nothing to do with the order. So he left for Bauchi on November 24 accompanied by the 10 mobile police men from the IG. To his utter shock, neither the Bauchi CP nor his men were at the airport against the IG’s directive.
‘’The crowd of supporters at the airport surged and became uncontrollable. The former governor feared for the safety of the surging crowd and while another tumultuous crowd he learnt was eagerly waiting at home, so he drove straight to his house near the Government House where, after many hours, the CP suddenly called and asked him to remain in the house,” Ibrahim stated.
Expressing disappointment at what it described as Ahmed’s ‘pliant behavior and capitulation’ to the political weight of the state government, the group said the unfortunate event portended grave danger to democracy and public safety particularly viewed against the clamour for the introduction of state police in the country.
‘’If a former governor of a state could be so callously and shabbily treated in such precarious circumstances, the danger it poses to the ordinary average Nigerians and the larger society is better imagined. This is enough reason to cause fear in our minds. So we fully support the House of Reps in its probe. The likes of CP Ahmed are threats to our democracy; he should be sanctioned by the IG for gross insubordination. All true lovers of peace should rise up and condemn this barbaric behaviour,” the group said.