Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has condemned the arrest and detention of Salihu Tanko-Yakasai, former special adviser on media to governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.
Salihu was arrested and subsequently sacked by Ganduje, after he called for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation over insecurity in the country.
In a statement on Sunday, Falana said Salihu is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility for merely exercising his freedom of expression as enshrined in Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) recalled that between 2013 and 2014, leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, repeatedly asked former President, Goodluck Jonathan, to resign.
He said they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time.
Falana wondered why Salihu would be arrested after many civil society, chieftains of the APC and both chambers of the National Assembly have called for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment over insecurity.
He, therefore, called for the unconditional and immediate release of Ganduje’s former aide.
“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.”
The Department of State Services (DSS), has confirmed that the Tanko-Yakasai is in its custody.