The detained publisher of Desert Herald, a Kaduna-based newspaper, Tukur Mamu, will be arraigned today before a magistrate court in Abuja.
Tukur was arrested on Monday at his office in Kaduna over a purported order by an Abuja magistrate court in a case filed by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, and one Ibrahim Bamoi.
Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP, Tukur’s lawyer, Abdul Mohammed, said Tukur is being detained at Zone 7 police station in Abuja.
He said, “I spoke to him this morning (yesterday) and he said he’s fine but he is kept in the same cell with hardened criminals and terrorists. The police said he is under investigation and will appear in court tomorrow [today]. They said the cell in Force CID Area 10 is still under renovation so they can’t put him there.”
If Tukur is not arraigned today, Abdul Mohammed said, he would then seek an enforcement of his fundamental human rights, given that Tukur had stayed more than 48 hours in detention (Tuesday 2pm – Thursday 2pm).
Mamu is having a running battle with Senator Mohammed over his (Mamu) insistence on publishing a book, “FCT Administration: The Rot Within”, which is about the administration of Mohammed as the FCT minister. He had earlier filed a case against the publication of the book at the High Court, FCT Jurisdiction, Court 27.
Meanwhile, Reporters without Borders has strongly condemned the arrest and detention of Mamu. A statemment on its website www.rsf.org reads in part: “Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed by journalist Tukur Mamu’s arrest yesterday at his office in the northern city of Kaduna by plain-clothes police, who initially took him to the city’s Criminal Investigation Department (CDI) headquarters. Mamu, who publishes the Kaduna-based weekly, Desert Herald, was then reportedly taken to the federal capital, Abuja, where he is being held at the CDI in Garki. “
“Mamu’s arrest and initial transfer to an unknown location constitutes a grave violation of freedom of information,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call for this journalist’s immediate release and we urge the authorities to make public the charges against him.”
Last night unknown men broke into the Desert Herald office in Kaduna and carted away with three computer laptops, one external hard drive containing vital information, some audio CDs and official files.