Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Services (SSS), has arrested an Islamic cleric and one other person for inciting violence ahead of the 18 March governorship election in Kano State.
The spokesperson for the SSS, Peter Afunanya, in a statement, confirmed the arrest to reporters on Wednesday.
Mr Afunanya said the suspects, Isma’il Mangu, and Abubakar Tabula, an official singer for the Kwankwasiyya followers have deliberately incited violence in parts of the state through separately recorded messages.
The SSS said they shared the messages on various social media channels.
The Kwankwasiyya, is a group of supporters of the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP).
A copy of a sermon, the Islamic cleric, delivered on 10 March during a Friday congregational prayers in Wudil local government area of the state. In the recording, he called for residents to besiege the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC and die if their candidate is it declare winner.
The cleric also trolled the president-elect Bola Tinubu, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa, and Nigerian security forces.
He, however, commended the presidential candidate of the NNPP Rabiu Kwankwaso.
“The Election Day is a war day no true Muslim should run away from armed security personnel and non state actors on the Election Day. I am calling on you not to run away, if you died you will go to paradise.
“I commended voters in Wudil and Garko federal constituency for voting the candidate of the New (NNPP).
“The people of Wudil and Garko have voted for the religious way may Allah bless them. I know that you people here are not coward who ever wins must be declare as the winner or will all die here.
“We will no longer tolerate inconclusive election in Kano. Let the security agents take note no more inconclusive in Kano we are going to die with all of you (the security agents).
“I am are not afraid whatever evil you are planning we are also planning it too. We are on the right path and if we die we are going to paradise.
“On election day, we must not INEC office until the right person is declare winner even if it will reach ten days let us cook food and supply it to our people in the INEC office let all go there in the INEC office let us all die there,” Mr Mangu said.
The SSS reacts
“The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby informs the public that it has arrested the duo of Sharu Abubakar Tabula and Isma’il Iliyasu Mangu for deliberately inciting violence in parts of Kano State. It may be noted that the suspects had separately recorded messages, which they shared through various social media channels.
“In those potentially harmful messages, they specifically championed certain political interests and directly called on their supporters to violently attack those opposed to them, including security personnel during the 18th March, 2023 Governorship and House of Assembly election in the State.
“As a result of this development, a particular political party in Kano has threatened to organise protest march in the metropolis as well as storm offices of some of the security agencies on 16th March, 2023 in solidarity for the suspects.
“While the Service alerts the public of this planned illegal action, it calls on the concerned party to shelve it forthwith or be ready to face the consequences.
“The DSS assures that it will not idly watch misguided persons or groups undermine the peace and security of the state. The leadership of the said party should rein in its members and urge them to desist from conducts capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in Kano and its environs before, during and after the scheduled election.
“Meanwhile, the Service is collaborating with sister security agencies to ensure that adequate security is provided for a successful electoral exercise.
“Aside Kano, the Service recently arrested similar subversive elements that threatened violence in other states of the Federation. It would be recalled that it had on 8th March, 2023, enjoined politicians to engage constructively and shun violence, fake news and hate speech.”
The SSS reiterates the call for political players to abide by the letters of the electoral act and guidelines. All and sundry are advised to positively contribute to the sustenance of peace and democracy in Nigeria.