The police on Saturday arrested former Governor of Zamfara, Senator Sani Yerima over alleged “inciting’’ comments on a live radio programme run by Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Olufemi Adenaike , led policemen in six hilux vehicles to surround the radio station and arrest the senator immediately after the Hausa programme, Hannu Da Yawa, at about 12:30 p.m.
Though Mr. Yerima was allowed to drive in his car to the state Police Command Headquarter, his car was sandwitched by the police vehicles.
After over two-hour long interrogation of the senator, the police commissioner told newsmen that Mr. Yerima was not under arrest.
“The senator was not under arrest, all we did was to find out what he said that they were going to go on a peaceful demonstration. I am satisfied with what he said and he is free to go.’’
Mr. Adenaike blamed journalists for blowing the matter “out of proportion’’, saying that his concern was the peace and security of Kaduna State.
“I am highly disappointed in you journalists, in the sense that nothing is happeniing and you are blowing it out of proportion.’’
In his comment, Mr. Yerima said the police was uncomfortable with his call for a peaceful protest, “should in case we meet all the legal requiremets and INEC refuse to register APC”.
“We will mobilise people, just like what happened in Egypt, we will sit there day and night, until INEC changes its decision.”
He said that protests are part of democracy, but “I am not calling for the peaceful protest now, I am just sounding a word of caution”.
NAN reports that the radio programme had focussed on the merger of Yerima’s All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
During the programme, Yerima had said that the new party, All Progressives Congress (APC), would meet all conditions for registration by the Independent Nationa Electoral Commission (INEC).
Responding to a question by a caller on what they would do if the party was not registered, the senator said leaders of the party, including Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Ibrahim Shekarau and others, would stage a peaceful protest to ensure that INEC “do the right thing.”
“We have no doubt that the party will be registered, we are going to fulfil all the constitutional and legal provisions for it to be registered, and we have no fear whatsoever that INEC would abide by the statutory conditions for the APC to be registered.’’
He said that leaders of the political parties involved in the merger would meet on March 27, to adopt the constitution and manifesto of the new party, after which it would be sent to state congresses and the national convention for ratification.
Mr. Yerima described the emergence of the APC as a good omen for the political development of the country, adding that “it is important to have two strong parties in the polity so as to give Nigerians alternative choice during election’’.
“Nigeria and its interest is paramount in this effort, and we are doing everything possibele to ensure that our efforts are not scuttled either by INEC or from within.’’
He acknowledged that already, there were efforts to scuttle the merger from within and outside the party, but said thta measures had been taken to ensure the success of the merger plan.