Jamil Mabai, a blogger based in Katsina was detained f0r 22 days for reporting the story that his governor, that is the governor of Katsina State, bought metal coffins worth N40, 000 (forty thousand naira) each to be distributed to Mosques all over Katsina. A lawyer friend from Kano called to inform me that he heard it on radio about a month ago. I discarded it as one of those social media talk on radio.
The police said they arrested the blogger based on a complaint by the state government. Two other bloggers arrested with Mr. Mabai, Bashir Dauda and Umar Faruq, were released after about a week in detention. They were all accused of writing about the story with the intent to cause civil disturbance and expose Mr. Masari to public ridicule.
Sources said that the governor was not happy with his post condemning the purchase of 3,000 metal coffins for distribution to mosques in the state.
Mr. Mabai said by purchasing the coffins, Mr. Masari is simply saying “Katsina people deserve to die”.
He also questioned the rationale behind buying the coffins at N40,000 each at a time the government was unable to pay civil servants outstanding arrears of salaries.
The State government have not denied the report but arrested some of these bloggers for exposing them. How can one metal coffins cost that much? In fact why waste so much on coffins at a time when the government could not pay salary? These are legitimate questions? And the government ordered arrest of those who reported it because the governor felt ridiculed? This is ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous and pathetic. But which one is more ridiculous?
First, is there scarcity of coffins in Katsina? What is wrong with the simple raffia coffins used in Mosques that Muslims in Nigeria have used proudly for centuries that has become part of our local culture? It is quite obvious that the governor wants to settle some of his friend(s) with contract knowing how gullible our people can be when you wrap it around religion, and that’s why such stupid contracts to buy coffins and distributed to Mosques were approved.
Secondly, how can a government spend so much on coffins at a time like this when the country is in recession. Don’t the government have any idea on what to do with money. That Governor Masari was one time Speaker of the House of Representative in this country makes it even more embarrassing.
What is pathetic in the whole of this is that the people of Katsina State are quiet and allowed such foolishness without saying much or anything.