The Katsina State Police Command, has detained a journalist in the state, Mr. Danjuma Katsina, over alleged “injurious comments” on a newly elected member of House of Representatives from the state, Mansur Mashi.
The journalist had posted a comment on Facebook in which he analysed the outcome of the Mashi/Dutsi bye-election conducted in May, wondering why Mashi was allowed to contest the election despite facing court action on alleged corruption.
A colleague of the journalist, Zaharadeen Umar, said Katsina was invited to the state’s Police Command around 8 p.m. on Saturday to explain himself over a complaint filed by the lawmaker. However, the police detained the journalist after taking his statement at the Command.
The journalist was detained overnight despite efforts by the Katsina state branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, and officials of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, to secure his release.
Angry Katsina State citizens on social media are outraged at these arrests of people who criticize politicians in their state or those who disagree with politicians and the Katsina state government.
Ibrahim Dan-Halilu wrote that, The Nigeria Police dancing to the tune of political charlattan, Ali Mashi again! They arrested a journalist in the line of duty for exposing the iniquities of the State electoral commission that cleared Ali Mashi to stand election for the state assembly when he has cases of corruption hanging on his neck. It’s high time politicians in Nigeria especially those holding elective offices realised that the media, like the other 3 branches of government in our democracy, has a defined constitutional role. It’s the 4th Estate of the Realm whose role cannot be ignored or suppressed through intimidation or harassment. The power to inform the public rests with the media, not the ministries of information, or media assistants. Those are simply surrogates that pass on messages to the press. Katsina, the home of President Buhari should not be on the vanguard to muzzle press freedom. We need an unfettered access to information to do our job.