Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, (SAN) has kicked against the detention of former Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Salihu Tanko Yakasai.
Salihu was arrested and subsequently sacked after he called for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation over insecurity.
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In a statement on Sunday, Falana said Salihu is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility for merely exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in Section 39 of the Constitution,1999.
Falana recalled that between 2013 and 2014, leaders of the APC, including Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly asked former President Goodluck Jonathan to resign.
He said they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time.
The senior lawyer, who is the Interim Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), wondered why Salihu would be arrested after many civil society, chieftains of the APC and both chambers of the National Assembly have called for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment over insecurity.
“The decision of the founding fathers of the present Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech, which must include freedom to criticise, should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted,” he said.
“Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism in respect of their office so as to ensure that they are accountable to the people. They should not be made to feel that they live in an ivory tower and therefore belong to a different class. They must develop thick skins and where possible, plug their ears with wool if they feel too sensitive or irascible.
“In view of the foregoing, we demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Tanko-Yankasai from illegal custody. However, if the State Security Service has evidence that the political detainee has committed any criminal offence known to law he should be transferred to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution without any delay.”
The Department of State Services (DSS) has confirmed that the former aide of Kano governor is in its custody.