Radio Programme Anchor, Guest Arrested after Live Interview Broadcast

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Chris-Isiguzo
NUJ President

On January 18, 2023, Mr. Yakubu Haliru Jeka-Dafari, a presenter with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)-owned Jewel FM Station in Gombe, the Gombe State capital, and a guest in his programme, Sheikh Ahmad Mandy Abubakar, were arrested and detained at the Police Headquarters in the State after a live interview that was aired on the station.

Yakubu was detained after he honoured an invitation by the police following the airing of his interview session with Sheikh Ahmad, who was himself arrested at a political gathering and detained.

Yakubu, who anchors a Hausa political programme ‘Harshen ka Alkalin ka,’ was invited and questioned about why he invited and aired the interview he had with Sheikh Mandy Abubakar, the Imam of one of the Mosques in Gombe metropolis, who is said to be a former die-hard supporter and an active member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) before he decamped and joined the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), thereby pitching him against the Governor.

His arrest is suspected to have been influenced by the Gombe State government under the leadership of Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for the utterances credited to the Islamic Cleric who featured on the programme. Although officials of the government denied instigating the arrest, they, however, confirmed that they lodged a petition with the police over claims made in the interview.

Yakubu was however released the following day after a long discussion between Jewel FM’s General Manager and the Commissioner of police but Sheikh Ahmad was not released. Sheikh Mandy Abubakar was released on February 2, 2023.