A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has reacted to the arrest of Salisu Tanko-Yakassai, a former Special Adviser on Media to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
Falana stated this in a statement on Sunday titled, ‘Asking Buhari to Resign is Not An Offence.’
The Department of State Services arrested the former aide following his criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari on Twitter.
Falana said retired military officers and political party leaders, including chieftains of the All Progressive Congress, have on several occasions called on the president to call it quits due to heightened insecurity in the country; therefore, there was no justification for the arrest and detention of Yakassai.
He noted that the National Assembly had made several calls for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment because criminal gangs have taken over the monopoly of violence in the country.
Falana said since such concerned citizens were not arrested, then the arrest of Yakassai is discriminatory and illegal.
The statement read in part, “It is on record that the APC and its leaders including General Buhari; National Leader, Bola Tinubu; Malam Nasir El-rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly called for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation between 2013 and 2014, yet they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time.
“Since the call for President Buhari’s resignation is likely to continue to be made by other concerned individuals and groups over the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neo-colonial state. It is pertinent to draw the State Security Service’s attention to the case of Arthur Nwankwo The State 1985 6 NCLR 228, where the Court of Appeal charged the Nigerian people to engage in relentless criticism of democratically elected governments.
“In particular, Olajide Olatawura JCA (as he then was of blessed memory) had this to say: The decision of the founding fathers of the present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticise should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted.”