The Nigerian Police arrested the publisher of Desert Herald newspaper, Mr. Tukur Mamu, in Kaduna on September 3, 2013 over corruption allegations against the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohamed.
Mr. Mamu was denied access to his lawyer, colleagues and family members who sought his release from the police headquarters in Kaduna and were told he had been moved to the Police CID in Garki, Abuja.
The arrest which was carried out by six armed policemen was said to be sequel to the orders of a magistrates’ court in a case filed by Senator Mohammed, and one Ibrahim Bamoi against the publisher.
There has been a disagreement over a long period of time between Mr. Mamu and the Senator over the publisher’s persistence in publishing a book titled ‘FCT Administration: The Rot Within!’ which centers on Senator Mohammed’s administration.
As a result of this, Senator Mohammed filed a case against Mr. Mamu before an Abuja High Court which is still pending before the court.
On June 27, 2013, a committee was inaugurated by the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Garba Mohammed, to look into the matter, following a petition against Mr. Mamu submitted by Mr. Nosike Ogbuenyi, special assistant on media, to the FCT Minister.
In an open letter dated June 29, 2013, Mr. Mamu stated conditions under which he would appear before the committee. One of his conditions was that the three-man panel should be reconstituted to ensure fairness, transparency and credibility to the outcome of its report.
He said: “I will accept to participate and talk only in the presence of the said petitioner, Sen. Bala Muhammad. As a fundamental right, I want to sit face to face with the petitioner in person to enable me ask him questions on the contents of his so-called petition against me to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of his allegations. That the hearing should be done in any secured place within Abuja or Kaduna and that the NUJ should make a proper arrangement for my personal security during the proceedings because, ever since the onslaught began there have been several threats to my life by the agents of the petitioner.”
Mr. Mamu insisted in his letter that all conditions stated are purely his fundamental rights.