Journalist Arrested, Detained by Katsina State Hisbah Corps

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Mr. Jamil Mabai, a journalist with Trust TV

Mr. Jamil Mabai, a journalist with Trust TV, was on May 14, 2024 arrested and detained by the Katsina State Hisbah Corps, a religious police force in the state responsible for the enforcement of its Shari’a Law. The journalist was detained when he went to  the corps’ office to interview its Public Relations Officer. 

Mr. Mabai explained that he went to the Hisbah headquarters after securing an appointment for a follow-up interview with the corps’ Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nafiu Akilu, over the shooting to death of Mallam Gambo by an officer of the Community Watch Corps.

The journalist disclosed that when he got to the Hibah headquarters for the scheduled interview, he couldn’t find Mr. Akilu, unknown to him that the PRO’s unavailability was a set-up to arrest and detain him. He said while waiting, some Hisbah officers approached him and took him into a cell where they locked him up. He said they also confiscated his phone claiming that they had an “order from above” to detain him.

He explained further that despite explaining that he was a journalist there for a scheduled interview, the Hisbah officers insisted on detaining him and they confiscated his phone before throwing him in a cell. He said he was later taken to meet the Hisbah commandant who threatened the journalist and told him that he was fighting with religion and that there was nothing the journalist or anybody can do against the activities of Hisbah.

Mr. Mabai said: “So, when I left the commandant’s office, I saw the PRO and I asked him why would you do such a thing. You are supposed to be a bridge between journalists and your organisation and to now use this as a setup is disturbing. Then he said he was alerted that there was a directive that I should be detained and they decided to kill two birds with one stone.”

He was released from the cell after an hour.