Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Security Operatives Storm Al-Mizan Office in Kaduna
Armed security personnel yesterday in Kaduna stormed the office of Almizan, the same weekly newspapers which earlier security forces had arrested two of its reporters. The weekly paper is owned by Islamic Movement of Nigeria led by Sheik Ibraheem Zak-zaky.
In a statement by its member, Ibrahim Usman, it said, “In a follow-up siege on Al-Mizan newspaper and its staff, plain clothes security operatives on Thursday afternoon (27/12/2012) around 2pm, in a white Peugeot (Boxer) without a registration number, stormed the office of the newspaper in Yoruba Road, Oriapata with the sole intention of arresting Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, Ibrahim Musa. It would be recalled that security operatives had in the early hours of Monday this week, arrested an editor and eeporter of the said newspaper.
“The security men met two people in the office and asked them whereabouts of the Editor-in-Chief, but left after having received no satisfactory answer. The security men later came back and ransacked the office in a wild search. They took away computers and other items yet to be ascertained. Residents of the area expressed shock at the uncivilized attitude of the security men toward peaceful citizens in broad daylight.”
Below are the court papers the Civil Rights Congress has instituted against military authorities.
Illegal Arrest of Al-Mizan Staff: Civil Rights Congress Threatens Legal Action
Below is the full text of the petition by A. A. Sadiq Marafa & Co. (3rd Floor, Suite 12, NNDC Building, 18/19 Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna, Nigeria, solicitors of Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress dated 27th December, 2012:
The Director General,
State Security Service,
Federal Capital Territory,
RE- COMPLAINT AGAINST THE ILLEGAL AND UNLAWFUL ARREST AND CONTINUED DETENTION OF THE EDITOR AND REPORTER OF THE AL-MIZAN NEWSPAPER
DEMAND FOR AN URGENT AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF THE TWO JOURNALISTS DETAINED
We are solicitors to the Civil Rights Congress, a renowned Human Rights NGO, of the Constitution Road, Kaduna, (hereinafter referred to as our client) and we have their express instructions and/or authority to communicate to you on their behalf:
On Monday 24th day of December, 2012, in the early hours of the morning, officers of the JTF (Joint Task Force), dressed in military camouflage uniforms, fully armed with sophisticated weapons and numbering about 40, ferociously climb-down on the houses of two prominent Nigerian journalists, the editor and reporter of the renowned Al-Mizan publications, a vernacular, popular Hausa newspaper.
That the men and officers of the JTF and other plain clothed Security men arrived at the affected journalists’ residential premises, conveyed in more than 10 vehicles and some military armored war tanks, stationed in strategic locations, all just to effect an arrest of the two innocent professional journalists, without any lawful or justifiable reason.
That yet, contrary to the provisions of the law, no reason has been advanced by the security men for the continued detention of the two journalists. Also neither the search conducted nor the subsequent arrest were effected or carried out with a supporting warrants as required by the laid down laws.
That the combined team of the men and officers of JTF and the security men forcefully went into residences of the journalists, arrested and willfully assaulted the journalists and to make matters worse the security men harassed and recklessly beat up the wives and even a ill son of one of the arrested journalists was not spared by the security men.
That while at the residential premises of the arrested journalists the men and officers of the JTF and security operatives unlawfully conducted and thoroughly ransacked and searched all the nooks and crannies of the rooms and all the surroundings of the premises, without laying hand on any
incriminating evidence, whatsoever.
That though the security personnel could not uncover any criminal evidence yet they still went ahead and arrested the two journalists without any verifiable justification or reason to do so.
That though the wife of one of the journalists, Mallam Aliyu Saleh was arrested along with her husband, the men of the JTF later dropped her along the way, but not until after taking her to a very far distance location from her residence.
That although the motive and purpose of the unwarranted arrest and detention of the two journalists could not be clearly discerned, it cannot be ruled out that it was connected with the lead story carried out by the recent and/or current edition of the Al-Mizan Newspaper, a publication which perhaps appeared to have exposed atrocities of the men and officers of Joint Task Force in the town of Potiskum, Yobe State, where at least 84 innocent Nigerians were abducted and taken to an undisclosed location all by the men of the JTF, without any regard and needs for compliance with the requirement of the rule of law or the fundamental civil rights of their victims, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Finally, that all efforts to locate the whereabouts of the unlawfully arrested journalists, despite strenuous effort to do so, throughout all the known security detention centers and offices in Kaduna and Abuja proved abortive and without yielding any positive outcome.
Sir, the point to note here, and very clearly, are the important facts that the conduct of the security officers in the instant case, with regards to the manner the security searched the premises, arrested and continue to detain the journalists even beyond the legal limits, are not in tandem with any express provisions of the law. The detained journalists and the Al-Mizan news publishers committed no offence as they were merely discharging their professional responsibilities as journalists. It is trite to point out here and very clear too that no person or authority, however high or powerful has any right to violate the provisions of the laws of the land, whether penal or constitutional or both. The laws are supreme and we must submit to its imposing authority, be whoever we are and at all times.
Therefore our client’s express instructions is to write and demand from you the urgent and unconditional release from detention, of the above mentioned innocent journalists, without any further delay, within the next 24 hours from the date of this letter.
NOTE THAT if, you refuse, neglect or fail to comply with this demand letter, our client shall be left with no option than to, without any further hesitation, take the necessary steps to file a legal action against the JTF and the Federal government, in order to ensure the upholding of the civil and fundamental rights of the innocent Nigerians, before the international court of justice, in the strict interest of natural justice, equity and good conscience and in line with the International Charter for Human and Peoples Rights.
PP: Sadiq Marafa Esq.
Comrade Shehu Sani
President, Civil Rights Congress, Kaduna, Nigeria