By Shamsu Abdullahi Yankara
A recent opinion, written and published by one “Maryam Musa” obviously and cowardly a pseudo-name, went light years off the road trying to prove a non-existent controversy in the recent arrest and detention of one Mahdi Shehu who the hatchet writer described as a “whistleblower and vocal critic” of Katsina State Government and who the writer also said was arrested on the orders of Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
Not done displaying an unforgivable ignorance and sense of logical reasoning, the writer quoted Desert Herald (as if Desert Herald is any more a reliable source of credible information than a toilet paper) as having gathered from sources in the IGP office that Governor Masari was personally at the Force Headquarters together with the Chairman of Max Air, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal, SGS Mustapha Inuwa, Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Ahmed El-Marzuq, Senator Bello Mandiya and last, but not the least, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The first question that will pop into the mind of any sane reader is why Governor Masari stormed the Force Headquarters with this powerful delegation if as the writer alleged in the 2nd paragraph of her litany of balderdash, “Mr. Mahdi, a vocal critic of the Katsina State Government and also a whistleblower was indeed arrested ON THE ORDERS OF GOVERNOR AMINU BELLO MASARI on Tuesday 27th November, 2020.” I mean, if Governor Masari has the capacity to order the IGP to arrest Mahdi, what was this powerful delegation at the Force Headquarters for? Tea party?
The contradictions didn’t end there. The writer, in one shot, described Mahdi’s arrest surreptitious and somewhat secretive. In another “she” confirmed Mahdi was arrested at the venue of a public event hosted by no less a visible and noisy figure than J. K. Gadzama SAN, a notorious “busy body” with hands in almost every controversial pie in Nigeria. Not even a fly will be squashed at Gadzama’s event without Nigeria’s judicial community going up in flames. Despite majority’s low opinion of Mahdi, we will agree he’s more than a fly if not on his own merit, at least on the merit of his sponsored accelerated popularity arranged by people behind him to sharpen his teeth to inflict more harm with his phantom “revelations.”
Let’s review Mahdi’s determined trip to the cells of the Nigerian Police Force if not for public benefit, to educate “Malam Maryam Musa.” Mahdi spent a quarter of year almost daily releasing videos of averagely 30 minutes containing libelous allegations and presenting forged documents as proofs of his allegations. In most of the videos, Mahdi will beg his corporate and individual victims to sue him if they feel maligned. So, what’s all this noise if his victims take up the challenge and sued him to have the courts verify his allegations side by side his “proofs” for adjudication? Does one need more than the brain of an ant to grasp this ancient judicial logic? I’m sure “Malam Maryam Musa” is not an ant and should have more brain to know this kite won’t fly.
I’m not unaware of a syndicated attack on the victims of Mahdi Shehu by Desert Herald, some hatchet writers and improvised or at best, purpose built NGOs just to harass and discourage them subjecting Mahdi to judicial process to clear their names. The funniest among these charlatans is the hitherto invisible “NETWORK FOR JUSTICE” which held a recent press conference to advocate for the release of Mahdi Shehu using the silliest of arguments. They relied on what they described as the “massive data” released by Mahdi to call for his release.
Somehow, either high on the beauty of their paycheck or simply daft, the NGO seemed daftly unaware that Mahdi was in detention on the strength of a court order obtained by the Nigerian Police Force to have enough time to peruse and verify this “massive data” which contains a litany of confusing allegations including a bizarre and clearly impossible allegation of a payment of over N700m as Covid-19 assistance to security agencies by Katsina State Government in August 2018, when even Wuhan, China doesn’t know about Covid-19. Covid-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China in 2019. The “19” in title “Covid-19” stands for the year the pandemic disease was discovered. Neither Mahdi nor his frozen-brain supporters like Network for Justice has the common sense to do a proper background check before unleashing their brand of destructive advocacy for good governance.
I’m not about to go into any debate about the quality of documents provided by Mahdi. There are many credible independent analysis highlighting the obvious discrepancies of what Network for Justice described as “massive data” which, unfortunately, is nothing but “massive garbage.” However, I will discuss the clumsiness of the NGO as represented by its condemnation of Katsina State for refusing to investigate the allegations. Nothing could be dumber! Does it make sense for an accused, individual or corporate, to investigate allegations against themselves?
By the way, why should Katsina State waste time investigating what Mahdi Shehu has already submitted to EFCC/ICPC, the statutory agencies responsible for resolving such conflicts? Perhaps, Network for Justice is under her impression Katsina State Government is as empty of things to do as an improvised and clumsy NGO desperately searching for cases to generate enough relevance to be an irritant. The dumb NGO only exposed its underbelly for a deadly attack. The public will sure like to know from them why Mahdi, their mentor, was not satisfied with the petition he submitted to the EFCC/ICPC and continued releasing forged documents which he either truly albeit daftly held as genuine or mischievously fed the public to create unnecessary distrust against the government.
Interestingly, the NGO isn’t even aware that the many cases which they accused Katsina State Government of instituting against Mahdi were actually instituted by individuals he maligned who are seeking for justice. Many of Mahdi’s victims sued him for libel and he went into hiding to avoid being served — a very funny development given how he always pompously begged to charged to court. And this is the reason why the Nigerian Police Force obtained a detention order to keep him in custody having made it clear he is flight risk who has already obtained a Ghanaian passport and has a valid Dubai visa ready to flee from justice.
For lack of better things to do and, to get more value for its efforts, Network for Justice could do better reaching out to Mahdi’s sponsors who had been disturbing the IGP with nocturnal visits while name-dropping the name of President Buhari in a desperate effort to get Mahdi off the hook. Rather than taking sides, a respectable NGO would advocate for fairness regardless of where it swings. Unfortunate today NGOs are more or less a begging bowl for corporate beggars to who integrity and credibility of individuals and corporate bodies is just a launchpad to achieve their pecuniary ambitions.
Finally, to see the rule of law, one need to be blind and has to know where to look for it.