An elder statesman and former presidential candidate of the National Republican Convention, NRC, Bashir Tofa, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of the convener of Katsina protest, Nasturah Ashir Sheriff.
Recall that Mr Sheriff, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNGs, was allegedly arrested by the police for organising a series of protests against the killing of innocent people by bandits in Katsina State.
Condemning the arrest through a statement on Wednesday, Mr Tofa advised the President to offer an ‘unreserved apology’ to Mr Sheriff, “before an avoidable conflagration consumes the entire North and eventually, the country”.
According to him, the arrest and detention of Mr Sheriff is utterly wrong, undemocratic and a very bad example of intolerance.
He said: “It is unwise and unjust. Not even during sensible and caring Military Rules, would citizens demonstrate peacefully about a matter that worries the entire country, and anyone be arrested.
“Is this a notice that nobody is allowed to say anything or to express a view, even peacefully? Is this the Democracy Nigeria is showing to the world? We hope not.”
The erstwhile NRC presidential candidate, also pointed out that so many people are angry about so many things.
“If this collective anger is tickled and pushed by a few who may have started some illegal action somewhere, it will easily spread.
“The 2011 violence, destruction and death that occurred when it was rumoured that Gen. Muhammad Buhari was denied his victory will be a child’s play this time around.
“Nigerians are very angry! Insecurity everywhere, poverty, joblessness and now Covid-19, disease, despair and desperation have eaten deep into people’s patience and good sense.”
Mr Tofa maintained that for the police or the security services to arrest anyone over the peaceful demonstration, is not only illegal, but a deliberate attempt to dishonour this Government and cause more hatred against it.
“Just today, because of Nasturah’s uncalled for arrest, I have the nasty and angry, often abusive words, uttered against the President by hitherto his supporters.
“President Buhari should be very careful. He should begin to know and appreciate his true and sincere friends, and get rid of his enemies, who do tremendous harm to his image and his own future well-being and safety.
“He must remember that in three years, someone else will be President. I, and millions of other Nigerians, condemn the arrest of Nasturah Sheriff and other Nigerians who were either killed or injured simply because they came out to demonstrate and make their views known in a peaceful manner.
“We demand Nasturah’s immediate release, and all those in detention for such purposes. We are in a Democracy,” the ex-NRC chieftain said.