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Paul Okeugo: Audu Maikori has Been Arrested Again?!

BellaNaija.com

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Audu Maikori. Photo Credit: Facebook – Audu Maikori

True to statements made by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai last week at the Social Media Week Lagos in which he vowed to “prosecute”( or persecute) Audu Maikori for statements in respect of the Southern Kaduna crises. (Audu) Maikori, despite being ill has been ferried off to Kaduna state by law enforcement officers at the behest of Governor El-Rufai, who is asserting that one of the pictures posted by (Audu) Maikori caused the death of Fulani in Kaduna State.

It is unfortunate that the governor has made this issue more about Audu Maikori that we have forgotten what the real issues are about. The real issues are that hundreds of people from Southern Kaduna have been killed in the past year and there has been no clear indication that the arrests or prosecution of the actual perpetrators of these Mass Murders is imminent. There seems to be a keener focus on locking up or silencing people who are speaking up against the lacklustre response of the Kaduna state government.

Governor El-Rufai claims that Audu’s posts “may” have incited violence in Southern Kaduna. Well let’s examine the tweet again. The link to the above story was posted on twitter https://twitter.com/Audu/status/812251061301968896. The tweet stated the following words “Not a Very Merry Xmas for the People of Southern Kaduna” . The tweet does not mention any inciting words; neither does it state “Fulani” or any other thing. The tweet has a link, which leads to the actual story: https://www.facebook.com/audumaikori/posts/10154000363611050

In summary the article itself was not inciting, it laid out the history of the crisis dating back 20 years ago, indeed it acknowledged the efforts of the Governor/Government but called for them to do more, and even outlines ideas and steps to help curb the situation and ended with this line “This is a plea for action and a prayer for peace for Southern Kaduna, Kaduna and all of Nigeria”. How can this article be read or interpreted as irresponsible, inciting or reckless? The very next day, the 24th of December 2016 on Christmas eve it was reported that Goska Village was attacked by the murderous herdsmen, with the killing of scores of people. The pictures are all over the Internet and the reports were made by several news sites (see link) http://saharareporters.com/2016/12/26/el-rufai%E2%80%99s-blunders-and-christmas-killings-southern-kaduna-moses-e-ochonu  One wonders if the Governor will also arrest and charge Sahara Reporters for posting this story.

All this happened during a 24-hour curfew. Was it this article that incited suspected Fulani herdsmen in a remote part of Southern Kaduna with no Internet access to slaughter the people in that village?

The gaffe here was that the picture on the tweet was later discovered to be that of another genocide. Was that intentional? Of course not. Many pictures come up when you do a Google search of the Southern Kaduna killings on the web, and really how can one just on the surface of it tell a Rwandan village from a village in Kaduna? Does this make the story any less true? Did the Fulanis not attack already before pictures were posted? Mr Maikori even posted an apology on both Facebook and Twitter for the picture, while still maintaining focus on the loss of life caused by the incident. Did this picture really start all this? Have there been any reprisals from Southern Kaduna indigenes on Fulanis? (None has been yet reported)

The second matter has to do with false story told by (Audu) Maikori’s driver: The driver has confessed to the IGP monitoring unit as well as the Marwa, Lekki Police Post confirming that he concocted the story in a bid to defraud Audu of some money. The details of the story are already widely publicized and there is no need to rehash it. What is worthy of note is that Audu personally investigated the matter after the School’s statement and took active steps to apprehend the driver and take him to the Police. He thereafter issued a copious apology to not just the College of Education, but the Fulani Community, the Southern Kaduna community and both the State Governor and government. In spite of all these Gov. El Rufai still arranged for him to be arrested, detained and investigated by the Police under the charge of “Criminal conspiracy and Incitement”

The narrative being sold by the governor is that Audu has been reckless and Irresponsible and therefore responsible for attacks? Does this make sense? Let’s examine this allegation: In the matter of the driver’s claim how could anyone actually verify the story? What reason would anyone have to doubt a story if a personal staff who has worked with them for months says that he lost his brother? Why would anyone think he lied, when on several occasions even more numbers of people have been killed in the same area?

The main reason for Audu’s advocacy and that of others like him is the helpless situation Southern Kaduna people have found themselves in. They are being decimated every day and when they speak up against it, they are called inciters or criminals. They are arrested, detained, threatened, taken to court and all sorts of charges are trumped up against them. Has this advocacy worked? Yes and this is evidenced by the serious attention the matter has seemed to garner, so much so that we have seen the recent establishment of battalions, arrests of some suspected killers and even the level of support the Kaduna State government has gotten both locally and internationally. If these advocates hadn’t spoken up only God knows how many people would have lost their lives by now.

PROSECUTION OR PERSECUTION

Last week the Governor took time out to attend the SMW Lagos where he made two scary statements:

  1. “We are going to prosecute him. He was arrested. His statement has been taken. He is on bail. He is going to be prosecuted. His fate will be decided by a judge”. He thereafter added:
  2. “We (the state) are TRYING (please note the emphasis on trying) to link the dates of his (Audu Maikori) tweets/postings to attacks that MAY have happened the next day to Fulanis and if we are able to establish that causation, we will prosecute him.”

So two points jump out:

  1. Considering the fact that the “Fake picture” was made on the 23rd of December 2016 and his statement was made two months later, it would seem to me that any “LINK” or connection between the erroneous picture and any attacks should have been well established and/or reported by now. Second, if between the 2nd of March 2017 when the Governor made his statement and this week, evidence suddenly appears linking these “deaths” to the time of the statement, then it is safe to say that such evidence is fabricated or at least is tailored to meet an expected charge.
  1. The second issue for consideration is how personally involved the Governor seems to be in this matter. He stated to several newspapers and media platforms that he would ensure Audu was prosecuted. In the matters relating to prosecution, the accused must first be investigated. It is only when a prima facie case has been established will he then be prosecuted. Anyone who watched the shocking video of the Governor can see clearly that he has already decided to prosecute Audu regardless of what happens because he needs a scapegoat. What was the crime? Speaking out against the slaughtering of people in Southern Kaduna.

This sort of statement, if there is ever need for it, should be made by the Attorney-General of Kaduna State, Director of Public Prosecutions of the State and not the Governor who is supposed to a neutral arbiter in such matters. Clearly, the Governor has demonstrated which side he stands on. So contrary to his verbal statements this case for him is very personal. We should not be surprised if sometime soon, the Police suddenly find “new” evidence that indicts Audu. And needless to say, any trial held in this matter will be heavily tipped in favour of Governor El-Rufai. He has more than enough government resources and connections to make sure he wins at all costs.

Meanwhile, let us get back to the real issues. Are people being killed in Southern Kaduna still? Yes, in fact, during the weekend during which Mr Maikori was first detained, between The 19th of February and the 21st of February, another 21 people were reportedly killed near Kafanchan and Kaura according to ThisdayLive.com https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/02/20/21-killed-in-fresh-attacks-in-southern-kaduna/. Over 3,000 people have been displaced  and compensation still has not been paid to many of these homeless people who have suffered- but surprisingly compensation was niftily paid to the Fulani community who are by the Governor’s self-admission, not even Nigerians! The Governor has proudly announced this is at several fora. He says the justification of these payments is based on recommendations of the Agwai Report – unfortunately General Agwai himself has frowned at that position. He said that any recommendations for the payment of compensation would be to both aggrieved sides not just one-sided to the Fulanis and in his words the action of the Governor was “partial”. See https://www.thecable.ng/agwai-all-aggrieved-parties-in-southern-kaduna-crisis-should-be-compensated-not-only-herdsmen.

The real forensic analysis that should be conducted by the local and international media, civil society groups, law enforcement agencies and concerned citizens is the number of Southern Kaduna indigenes slaughtered by the Fulani aggressors between the times Governor El-Rufai started paying them up till this present day. The real concern is how the governor has incentivized these killings because when you pay money to people who are killing innocent citizens, you have done nothing but provide the killers with the incentive to continue killing. Little wonder the crisis in Southern Kaduna has lingered this long.

We are at a critical point in this nation and Southern Kaduna is a very important part of the equation. Indeed the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo last week ensured he visited Kaduna to meet with some of the stakeholders to plead for the restoration of peace in Southern Kaduna by dialogue, by consultations and by forgetting past wrongs and working together towards a new peace pact – a development that was very welcome by all sides. I don’t see how the persecution of advocates such as Audu Maikori will help bring peace – instead it brings a further strain on any efforts of peace building. Let it be known that persecuting Audu Maikori is persecuting those who continue to cry out against the killings in Southern Kaduna.

This is a time for the Governor to reach out and broker peace in a state that has been war torn and not to further persecute a people who have suffered great persecution over the past one year for crying out for help.

Keep praying for the people of Southern Kaduna.

**

Paul Okeugo is a co-founder of Chocolate City Group with Audu Maikori and has been a close friend of his for many years.

20 Comments

  1. Ima

    March 11, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Just look at the country we are in. Wicked and unforgiving people.

    • toyin

      March 12, 2017 at 12:40 am

      If am God people like El rufai won’t be created. Don’t understand the venom he spills so unbecoming of a governor….In Nigeria, if you don’t have a god father the the law works against you.

    • Jezebel

      March 12, 2017 at 8:24 am

      When Bubu was away sick, they left Audu alone while they contemplated their new boss would be a Christian. Now that frail Bubu is back they are ready to crucify Audu. A few states in the north have decided to do away with the scourge of theses fulanis who aren’t really Nigerians. I can say for a fact that tribes in those states have agreed that for the sake of their children going forward, no fulani will ever lead them. Instead they’ll unite and stand behind one of their own regardless of religion.

      I hope this will serve as an eye opener to Nigerians, Fulanis are the most tribalistic and vindictive people that have ever walked on Nigerian soil with the exception of the fact that their foot soldiers are willing to kill and maim and “escape” to chad and Cameroun.

  2. Ayo

    March 11, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    The Governor is being vindictive. It is such a shame. He should focus on the problem and stop trying to divert attention from his very poor handling of the crisis in Southern Kaduna.

  3. GANNY OGUNSHAKIN

    March 12, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Nasir el Rufai is tripping. Why have you chosen to kill the messenger Audu Maikori? Is it because he has pointed out your failure as a governor of Kaduna State.? Even so Audu Maikori has broken no Laws of either the Federal government of Nigeria nor the Kaduna State government. The continuous harrasment, intimidation and arrest of Audu Maikori must stop immediately. He must be granted an unconditional release by whomever is responsible for his arrest. Everything Audu Maikori has said or written about were the truth. Hence protected by the Nigerian Constitution. He acted the way any responsible Nigerian should.

  4. toyin

    March 12, 2017 at 12:37 am

    El rufai is not fit to be a governor. An illiterate who thinks too much of himself. El ruffai you are not God while swearing know your own life is also under God’s time. Such illiterate comments is such a shame to our governance who think they are slave lords. BASTARDS God will judge you leaders for all the evil you have caused in this country.

  5. Jade

    March 12, 2017 at 1:44 am

    It’s glaring now that El Rufai has personal issue with Audu. It’s no longer about him giving out incorrect info. How many false news come from that country everyday. The people responsible are not reprimanded let alone arrested.
    One thing these leaders in authority tend to forget is, they think they are invincible. They believe they can kill anyone pointing out their wrong.
    Nigerians fail themselves when they allow one of their brother and sister to suffer in the hand of these brutal, heartless leaders.
    Audu’ friends and the entertainment industry, everybody should stand against such and sulphur Audu . These leaders want to silence freedom of speech and regular people.
    Nigerians get mouth only to insult, run their mouths and gossip. Let’s use the same mouth to bring about change with actions.

    • Jade

      March 12, 2017 at 1:45 am

      *support

  6. Victor Dollar K

    March 12, 2017 at 5:54 am

    No matter what Elrufai does, we will never keep shut… We will continue to speak for our people… We are not surprise about Elrufai’s stand in this matter after all he is defending his brothers (Herdsmen) and as for his actions i just know it is a sign of weakness… Elrufai is the weakest and dumbest Leader we’ve ever had in Kaduna… Audu is a clear threat to his weak leadership because he knows. Audu is more of a leader than he…. He thought he can break us? But our voices has just been increased to highest level…. Advice… swallow your pride and free Audu and learn from his positive influence and impactful leadership

  7. Madman

    March 12, 2017 at 6:32 am

    ElRufai is a DEVIL.

    Why hasn’t he prosecuted the Fulani murderers that slaughtered people like cows in Southern Kaduna?

  8. Madman

    March 12, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Gates Foundation is also EVIL for doing business with ELRUFAI.

  9. Abu

    March 12, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Let the court decide, Allow Audu to face his music

  10. Fifi

    March 12, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Let Audu go and face the music, shey when Brymo left CC he held the boy in court, abi all of a sudden he is a saint, KD state should try him in court, we await the verdict. Enough of all the social media warriors who spread lies

  11. Benny

    March 12, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Elrufai is at the end of his own road. Demon. This demon will not last much longer

  12. Titi

    March 12, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Thank you for this article, Paul. While it’s clearly not impartial, it is thorough and brings a broader perspective to this widely publicized debacle, which is an important component of journalism. Thank you Bella Naija for posting. I hope this is seen by those that truly need to see, and take stock of their actions accordingly (Here’s looking at you, Gov).

  13. Niyoola

    March 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Elrufai ‎is a terrible person. 
    He made the statement that any Fulani blood shed is a debt to be repaid later in future (para-phrasing)‎

    He said he paid herdsmen to stop killings. But they are still killing. He should let us see the people he paid na.

    Finally, I blame the ‘youths’ that invited him to speak at social media week. You start up #FreeAudu one week, and the next week you give his persecutor a platform to speak. Smh.

     ‎

    • bree

      March 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      can they please leave Audu alone? This man collapsed the other time, is it until they kill him? What is this Country becoming? This is not fair, he has apologized, we the masses have heard. #freeAuduMaikori

  14. Tosin

    March 12, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    There is the matter of people killing each other on which I’m not qualified to comment. Far wiser people have commented and committed to working for peace and we pray for peace. These are human lives. If human life is not sacred anymore, then what is? As an aside, I thought a high-profile person like el-Rufai could be a competent, even exemplary, state governor. But it’s in his state that these problems are happening. How come? Was he competent before and incompetent now?

    There is the matter of el-Rufai harassing the young man. Already, many insults have been thrown the governor’s way referencing his small stature. He is definitely becoming smaller and smaller in stature the more he excites himself over this young man’s matter. I certainly hope he corrects course quickly. If he can’t, he should find a new job – books, agric, spirituality, contracts… He is talented and energetic but my country Nigeria does not have space to tolerate tyrants and petty small-man behaviour. I imagine he was told all this the first time. He should stop being foolish.

  15. Tosin

    March 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Speaking of incompetence, I was reading some speech by Emefiele of the Central Bank. Why is he still in that post if we are serious people?

  16. Eskay

    March 12, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I hear Audu has political ambitions come 2019. I have a feeling they are trying to get him a criminal conviction to thwart that ambition. Nigeria my country 🙁

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