by Ibrahim Faruk
News broke yesterday of the arrest of the former governor of Zamfara state, Alhaji Sani Yerima who presently represents his state in the Senate.
The former governor was arrested and detained in Kaduna State by the police yesterday for four hours following his guest appearance on a two-hour Hausa radio programme entitled “Hannu Da Yawa” on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
The former governor allegedly made some comments on the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which were deemed by ‘the powers that be’ to have been inciting.
Here’s what he said: “if there is any attempt by anybody or in any quarter to refuse the APC registration, we can go as far as having a peaceful protest 24 hours until our demand is granted.”
The Kaduna State commissioner of police, Mr. Olufemi Adenaike, along with armed policemen stormed the premises of the FRCN, seized the audio recording of the interview and ordered the former governor to report to his office.
Speaking to journalists before reporting to the police command, Senator Yerima informed them that “the CP himself invited me and said it was a directive from Abuja to invite me to his office”.
The former governor/Senator who is not new to controversy further explained to journalists at the police command that, “I came for a phone-in programme organised by FRCN Kaduna. They invited me and, as soon as the programme finished, the commissioner of police appeared and requested that I should see him.
“I said in case APC meets all the legal requirements and it is refused registration, we will mobilise for a peaceful protest to INEC.
“In fact, people like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ibrahim Shekarau and other stakeholders will converge and mobilise people to go to Eagle Square like what happened in Egypt. We would sit there day and night until INEC registers APC. Yes, I still stand on what I said.
“I said if the sitting president of Egypt could yield to the pressure from the people, I cannot see INEC not registering APC. I am not calling for a peaceful protest now, I am just sounding a warning to INEC: they should know that Nigerians are watching and they are interested in everything.”
Senator Sani Ahmed Yerima was arrested and detained at 12 noon, he was released at 4pm.
The former governor had further stirred up the hornets nest, during the programme, with a disclosure that the federal government was giving bribes to some senators to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). He said that any senator who supports the PIB has been bribed.
In his response, the commissioner of police said: “Put yourself in my shoes, you are a commissioner of police in a state and you start receiving calls from concerned citizens that somebody had made an inciting statement on radio; will you go to Burukutu (locally made beer) joint? No, you have to make a move. All I did was to go to the radio and I gently met the distinguished senator and said, ‘Please I want to know what you said’ and he said ‘no problem’, but I am surprised at what people are saying: that I arrested the senator.’”