Gentlemen of the press, Doctor John Danfulani has been detained without trial yet again by the Kaduna state government in gross violation of his fundamental human right as is enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even though the governor swore to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his oath of office on May 29 2015. Not only that, the governor swore not to allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct or decisions, but here, Doctor John Danfulani is detained once again based on the personal interest of Governor El-Rufai. The first time he was detained without trial in January, the governor and his cronies hid behind Kaduna State University (KASU) and the commissioner of police to victimise the doctor. Today, the governor showed his hands directly in the matter by getting the state executive council to endorse another round of victimisation over the same issue that was earlier struck off for lack of merit by a lower court, based on personal interest but excusing it on incitement; at a time of great insecurity in southern Kaduna with him doing nothing effective with respect to that except holding meaningless security meetings after security meetings while southern kaduna people are daily killed by his fulani herdsmen. The ongoing massacres in southern Kaduna was unbelievably captured by the contracted petitioners against Dr. John Danfulani with the tacit approval of the governor where they threatened a repeat of the Rwandan massacres in Southern Kaduna and went scot-free. We have seen a fulani Doctor Haruna coming on board 15 August 2016, to claim the Godogodo massacre without being harassed, intimidated nor arrested, not to mention being detained because he is a fulani and a Muslim like the governor, while a university don is locked up for simply expressing himself in tandem with his fundamental human right, because he does not share religion nor ethnicity with the governor; even though the governor swore to do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
Immediately after the Doctor John Danfulani anchored CEDRA’s report on A Hundred Days in Office at both the federal and state levels where he fingered Jimmy Lawal as an element with criminal records in the Kaduna State Government employment, he became blacklisted and marked for persecution. The government clandestinely commissioned some thought police to invade the doctor’s privacy and police his thoughts and opinions in a style only obtainable in the book 1984 by George Orwell (the author of animal farm). The doctor’s every thought and opinions were religiously scrutinised for fault lines in a way that captures the level of depravity and abuse of office of the Kaduna State government which often than not, has displayed an acute propensity to blame, witch-hunt and persecute perceived enemies and voices of dissent than getting down to the real business of good governance in Kaduna state. Jimmy Lawal is presently the acting chief of staff after Hadiza Bala Usman moved to the Port Authority.
By 26 January 2016, Doctor John Danfulani’s trip to India was cut short to honour an invitation with the commissioner of police for 28 January 2016 on allegations of incitement through a Facebook update titled ‘APC Simpletons of Northern Nigeria’. After reporting himself to the police commissioner, the doctor was detained by the police and refused to be taken to court for more than 48 hours. The police claimed the Doctor was in protective custody and that they were conducting investigations into his case and had to detain him until the fifth day when he was taken to court and granted bail. When he couldn’t meet the bail conditions, he was moved from the police custody to the prison. After bail conditions were met on the following day, he was released. Eventually, the case was struck off by the magistrate court for lack of merit on 9 August 2016. Two months after, we heard the doctor had to go to the ministry of justice to collect a court summon (for 26 October 2016) on the same charges that were struck off two months earlier by the magistrate court. After the suit was read out, the doctor pleaded not guilty. Justice Mohammed Bilkisu then hinted the court of her intention to travel for a seminar and won’t be back until 7 November 2016. The defence counsel Barrister James Kanyip prayed the court to grant the doctor bail but the state counsel Barrister Abdullahi Isiaka insisted the motion for the bail must be in written form. However, before the defence counsel will return with the written bail application, the state counsel was deliberately absent and the judge Justice Bilkisu Mohammed will not hear the defence counsel on the written bail application in the absence of the state counsel. She insisted the doctor should be remanded in prison until her return on 7 November.
1. We wonder why the state counsel Barrister Abdullahi Isiaka will disappear and reappear only after the judge had departed from the court premises even though he was fully aware that the court was on session.
2. It is still not clear why the court will summon the doctor fully aware that it can not sit on his case on that day he was summoned.
3. We can not rationalise why the doctor had to be remanded in prison custody when he was not arrested nor on the run.
4. We don’t understand how a doctor who presented himself before the ministry of justice to collect his court summon would be remanded in prison without any established evidence he won’t be available when needed.
1. We see this as an affront on personal liberty against the dictates of the constitution. And since injustice to one is a threat to justice to all, we members of the Netzit Patriotic Front consider this threat seriously.
2. The article allegedly authored by Dr. John Danfulani simply reflected his personal opinion of the northern people using adjectives in his typical style of writing within the limits of his right as permitted by the constitution. Even the governor was credited with an inciting statement in 2013 where he spoke about Jesus sleeping with Mary Magdalene and he was never arrested not to mention detained despite the ire and fire the statement provoked among Christians back then. The ‘Attack the Attacker’ mantra of the doctor is also captured in the constitution under self-defence. The mantra does not say attack those who do not attack you – it says attack those who attack you. It is in direct contrast to the Governor’s rantings. Even as the number one man in the state, the governor on 17 October 2015 told those who do not share in his views, to go climb Kufena Mountain and fall down. On 30 March 2016, the same governor referred to PDP members as viruses and warned his newly sworn in interim chairmen to keep away from. The same governor described members of an APC faction as ants, he will just crush on 4 June 2016. He made a very unfortunate statement on 6 April 2016, where he said over 800 people were killed in 2011 post-elections crisis, claiming most of the killings took place in Southern Kaduna. When you scrutinise the multiple other speeches of the governor, you will see how hateful, inciting and inflamatory they all are. We saw also how shiites were massacred by non-state actors after the governor criminalised their activities. It is ironical how this same governor will sought to suffocate voices of dissents under the guise of incitement given all of the above and more.
In our January press conference concerning this same issue, we advised the Kaduna State Government to be careful in her attempt to muzzle dissenting voices and personal opinions under the guise of incitements against the dictates of the constitution. We drew parallel with how people easily ignore mad men regardless of what they say and called on the government to teach people to ignore opinions that do not sound palatable to them. We said instead of carrying a crackdown on opinion holders, government should teach people to boycott or at least tolerate those opinions as we can not all hold similar opinions. Infact, it is more profitable to government if they teach volatile people to be less volatile and check how easily they get incited over unpalatable opinions of others, than trying to suppress all sort of unpalatable opinion holders from their fundamental right to hold any type of opinion. Government should not suppress the right to expression in order to defend the right to incitement and anger. Infact the constitution does not capture the right to anger but captures the right to hold different opinions. Why then should a government that swore to defend the constitution detain unlawfully, one who was acting within the dictates of the law in order to justify anger and make it look righteous? Justifying anger is tantamount to encouraging violence and this is certainly an anathema for any purposeful government which is out to maintain law and order. Government should release Dr. John Danfulani now.
Sign: George Makeri
Netzit Patriotic Front.