Media practitioners in Kaduna state are in a state shock as Editor of Zaria-based Al-Mizan, a Hausa language newspaper, Alhaji Musa Muhammad Awwal, along with one of his reporters, Aliyu Saleh, were abducted in the early hours of Monday, by men dressed in Army uniform.
It reminds many of the dark days of the military.Reports said that the abductors numbering about 20, stormed the editor’s residence in Tudun Wada area of Kaduna metropolis at about 4.30 am.
According to Awwal’s wife, Hajiya Hanatu, when the armed men arrived the house, they threatened to shoot everybody if the door was not opened.
She noted that her husband was resting on a chair after he did some work on his laptop that morning.
She said, “all of a sudden, we heard a loud knock on the door, saying that if we did not open the door, they will shoot us. So I volunteered to open the door.
“As soon as I opened the door, I saw many men with big guns. They were wearing military uniform with US Army badges boldly attached on them.
“I have never seen such guns in my life. One of them slapped me and my children, they took away my mobile telephone handset even when I pleaded that I have my projects stored in the phone.
“They went away with my husband without telling us his offence but people are suspecting that he may have been picked up because of the latest edition of the paper which wrote about alleged JTF killings in Yobe state.”
“When we were forced out of the house, we saw about 20 men with guns and with parked tinted jeeps. We are appealing to the state and Federal Government to intervene at least for us to know his whereabouts.”
The paper’s Editor-In-Chief, Ibrahim Musa, reacting in a press statement demanded immediate release of the staffers of the weekly magazine.
According to the statement, “although it is not clear why they have been arrested, however it might not be unconnected with the lead story of the current edition of the Al-Mizan newspaper which revealed the atrocities of the Joint Task Force in Potiskum in which 84 persons have been abducted.
“We hereby call for the immediate and unconditional release of our staff whose arrest has violated due process and their individual human rights.”
When contacted the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations at the 1Division of the Nigerian Army, Col. Sani Usman, said that, “I am not aware of the arrest. I will investigate the issue because up to 10 people, including journalists have called me on this issue.”