Audu Maikori, lawyer, founding CEO of Chocolate City Group and Nigerian music industry mogul, has been arrested by the Nigeria Police Force on charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and incitement.
Audu’s arrest followed his passionate advocacy over the Southern Kaduna genocide orchestrated by suspected Fulani herdsmen militia.
SIGNAL gathered Friday night that a pre-arranged detention order had been issued on Maikori even before he was arrested and his statement taken.
“Audu has been detained. There was nothing we could do as the detention order had been signed before his statement was even taken,” his lawyer Mark Jacob, an indigene of Southern Kaduna, said.
“The superior officers that could vary the detention order had all closed for the day leaving only the rank and file who were apparently, just obeying orders.”
Jude ‘MI’ Abaga, the CEO of Chocolate City Entertainment and one of Nigeria’s leading rappers, as well as Bankole Wellington (Banky W) are among top Nigerian artistes who have taken to Twitter to confirm the news of Maikori’s arrest and called on Nigerians online to demand for his release.
— Yung denzL (@MI_Abaga) February 17, 2017
— Yung denzL (@MI_Abaga) February 17, 2017
— Banky Wellington (@BankyW) February 17, 2017
Meanwhile, several Nigerian Twitter users have attacked the governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir El-Rufai for masterminding Audu’s arrest.
— #OfficeOfTheCitizen (@CitizenlnChief) February 17, 2017
Thunder fire WHOEVER votes for Nasir El Rufai.
— Agora’s Blog (@AgorasBlog) February 17, 2017
El Rufai really ordered the arrest of Audu? Mahn…
Has he even arrested any of the killer Fulani herdsmen?
Nigeria is a joke.
— Övie (@OvieO) February 17, 2017
El Rufai is quick to order Audu Maikori’s arrest but can’t arrest the herdsmen killing your people. He should free Audu Maikori.
— Female Rap King (@DeevaOfficial) February 17, 2017
El Rufai saw the Fulani herdsmen murderers, dined with them, arrested none. Audu spoke against killings, El Rufai ordered his arrest.
— Kenechukwu Oraelosi (@oraelosikenny01) February 17, 2017
This same El Rufai that has been screaming injustice and oppression when he was in opposition. Now he is in power and he is arresting @Audu
— Earthenware (@EarthenwareJ) February 18, 2017
Equally, pro-democracy advocacy groups condemned his arrest on Saturday describing it as a plot to silence critics and undermine democracy.
According to the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, “It is worrying that Nigeria is fast descending into a fascist state where opposition to government and criticisms of actions has become a sin against the ruling class. There is a high degree of intolerance, where opposing views are not condoned, as never seen before under any democratic dispensation since 1960. The arrest of the founder of Chocolate City, Maikori, is a part of the bigger plot to silence dissenting views across the country.”
“Since Maikori and some human rights activists and social crusaders have elected to speak for the oppressed people of Southern Kaduna who have been killed in their hundreds and displaced in their thousands, and also exposed the state conspiracy against them, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has been plotting to arrest them and use federal forces to cow them into submission. We are aware that Maikori has immediately and since apologized to the public for a single error of information put in the public out of real uncountable number of killings and maiming carried out against his people. But El Rufai who prefers to latch on to this to pursue a personal vendetta against Maikori and others who are on their waiting list of arrest. We will not allow this state persecution to stand”, the group said.
On its part, Green Nigeria, a coalition of Nigerian young professionals cutting across political, ethnic and religious divides condemned the arrest describing it a sad symbol of Nigeria’s return to the dark ages.
“We condemn in strong terms the arrest of Audu Maikori and call for his immediate and unconditional release. What is happening in Southern Kaduna is a travesty of justice. The people who should be arrested and fished out by the government and security agencies are those behind the Southern Kaduna killings; the herdsmen who are on the payroll of the state government, not an advocate of the oppressed people of Southern Kaduna who are being exterminated in a most brazen modern day genocide”, the group said.
Maikori is still being detained at the Asokoro police station at the time of this report.
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