Nastura Ashir Sharif, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Groups is now a free man. The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) confirmed his release Thursday evening, June 18th, 2020. He spent two days in detention.
But this came after voices calling for the immediate and unconditional release from detention of (CNG) had swollen fat, with the Advocates for a United Kano, for instance, drawing the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the fact of the growing escalation of insecurity in the country, saying the confidence of the people is waning fast and that Mr President and his government will lose all respect with catastrophic consequences for the country if prompt and decisive action were not taken to stop the carnage and restore general security, peace and stability.
The statement was signed by Hajia Najaatu Muhammad; Shehu Dalhatu; Alhaji Shehu Muhammed Dankadai; Dr. Aminu Ahmed; Ibrahim A Waiya and Mallam Abba Dabo.
Others are Ibrahim Ado Kurawa; Prof Jibrin Ibrahim; Halima Ben Omar; Alhaji Bashir O Tofa; Amina Ummulkhair Ibrahim Bibi Farouk; Farouk Ibrahim; Bashir Baba Habu; Prof. A. H. Yadudu; Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim and Hajiya Aisha Dankani
The Advocates for a United Kano said it saw no justification for Sharif’s arrest, as the protest he led in Katsina was totally peaceful and as there was no report of any infractions or violence.
“Indeed, we share, unequivocally, the genuine concern of the Coalition of Northern Youths and we see the focus of their protest as a matter of urgent public interest which was exercised within the constitutionally stipulated rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly”, said the platform.
Some people interpret the protest in Kano against the surge in generalised insecurity as a test case of what residual civil society can still do in state-civil society relations.
The detained Katsina protest leader was arrested Tuesday afternoon and moved to Abuja shortly after the peaceful protests in Katsina against the killings by bandits.
Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, CNG Spokesperson who signed the statement acknowledged that Sharif’s freedom was made possible “by the enormous pressure exerted by the CNG, the Northern Elders Forum, patriotic leaders and elders of the North, a decent section of the civil society, a multi-sectoral cooperation of regional groups and activists and the vigilance of the national and international press”.
He is assuring the CNG that they shall never relent in the struggle for a decent, free, fair and just society no matter the odds. The CNG Spokesperson is urging the authorities to endeavour to always place value on human liberty and people’s rights as basic cornerstones for civilized democracy.
Sharif was arrested and detained on the orders of the Inspector General of Police on June 16, 2020 after his group organised a mass but peaceful protest in Katsina which the State Commissioner of Police commended as such.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, the protest leader was to be arrested by the same police for the protest staged to highlight the growing insecurity, banditry, kidnapping and mass murder occurring across the country but particularly in the Northern part of late.