Human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, (SAN), has reacted to the arrest and detention of former Special Adviser on Media to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, also known as Dawusi, over his comments that President Muhammadu Buhari should resign due to increasing insecurity in the country.
Dawusi had taken to his Twitter account with handle @Peacock on Friday, and posted:
“Clearly, we as APC government, at all levels, have failed Nigerians in the number 1 duty we were elected to do which is to secure lives and properties. Not a single day goes by without some sort of insecurity in this land. This is a shame! Deal with terrorists decisively or resign.”
“Hypocrisy is in our DNA. Imagine what’s happening in the North now was under GEJ or OBJ, sai dai ka ji ana makiyin arewa ne, makiyin musulmi ne (what you would hear constantly is that they are the enemy of the north, the enemy of the Muslims), but here we are, being ravaged by all sorts of insecurity but no collective rage, sai useless lamentations.”
The tweet had gotten Dawusi into trouble as Ganduje promptly announced his sack while the Directorate of State Services (DSS), arrested him on Saturday and whisked him to Abuja where he is currently being detained.
His father, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, also confirmed the arrest by the security operatives in a statement late Saturday.
The DSS also confirmed the arrest of Dawusi in a statement thus:
“This is to confirm that Salihu Tanko-Yakasai is with the Department of State Services (DSS). He is being investigated over issues beyond the expression of opinions in the social media as wrongly alleged by sections of the public.”
As many Nigerians have continued to kick against the arrest of Dawusi with the #FreeDawusi gaining momentum, Falana has added his voice to the call by asking the DSS to release the young man.
In a statement on Sunday, Falana said Dawusi was being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility for merely exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in Section 39 of the Constitution 1999.
In the statement, the fiery lawyer recalled that between 2013 and 2014, leaders of the APC, including Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed had repeatedly asked former President Goodluck Jonathan to resign and they were not arrested.
Falana wondered why Dawusi would be arrested after various civil society organisations, 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.”