As Nigerian authorities continue to hold Katsina-based whistle-blower, Mahdi Shehu in illegal detention, the UK, US and other European power houses are reportedly gearing up to impose Visa restrictions of government officials involved in the imbroglio.
Recall that Shehu had consistently spoken up to expose fraudulent activities perpetrated by Katsina Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and the huge sums of funds paid as ransom to kidnappers in the state.
The US State Department had maintained that it would not hesitate to ban Nigerian government officials who “operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human right”.
While the Katsina state government, the police and presideng courts have been complicit in the matter, some of Shehu’s crimes are that “he fingered the governor and Secretary to the State Government in outright stealing of over N52billion naira meant for security at a time when 12 local government councils have been overtaken by bandits.
Also, he was Shehu drew blood for exposing that “within 62 month( June 2015 to December 2020) 34 local government councils in katsina state received N310billion from the federation account( internally generated revenue not inclusive) and yet there is not a single N50m project standing in any of the 34 local government areas”.
According to a source close the Katsina government, “Shehu’s exposures are covered by thousands of authenticated documents”.
A trending video on social media which is already drawing wide-spread criticism, shows Shehu being dragged to court premises despite being in a poor health condition.
“Democracy is under siege in Nigeria, democracy is under siege in Nigeria. Murder of Innocent people taking place. I have not been told of my offence, I have not been told of any charge. I have not made any comment.
“I have eight cases all at the Appeal level. All of them been repeated continuously, the Judges, Magistrate are all watching, the Presidency is watching, Minister for Justice is watching, the Minister for Environment is watching, the Inspector General. NBA, Civil Society Group, Youth Organisation take note.
“This is whistle blowing under the government that signed Executive Order 35, to report corruption and thieves for a reward. I am a non-commercial whistle blower. I am not a popper. I have reported fraud in Katsina state. I have reported breach of trust in Katsina state. Yet they say I have brought deliberate arson in Katsina state.
“They are using the court to send me to prison without trial. I am supposed to be in High Court in Kano. They have refused to take me to Kano. I have been under police custody for the past 35days, under their custody I have lost my weight, my waist, my neck, my legs. Under their custody I was stung by a snake. Their intension is to kill me. This the same regime that offered reward for whistle blowing. I ask for no reward,” he lamented in the video.
Despite two court rulings ordering for his release, Mahdi has now been held in custoday for close to 40 days, and has been denied access to his family, lawyers and medical attention.
Reacting to the situation, Amnesty International in a statement on its Tweeter handle, condemned the detention and maltreatment of the whistle-blower.
“Amnesty International condemns the unlawful detention and ill-treatment of whistleblower Mahdi Shehu, who has been exposing alleged corruption by Katsina state government.
“Since his detention on 16 February, Mahdi Shehu has been denied access to family, lawyer and medication despite the poor state of his health. We are calling on authorities to immediately release him and respect his rights. #Corruption #Katsina #Nigeria.”