Bauchi commissioner, popular cleric clash over alleged defamatory statement
The Bauchi State Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Honourable Nuhu Zaki, has petitioned the State police command over alleged defamatory statements made against him by a popular cleric, Imam Idris Abdulaziz, during the recent Ramadan fasting period.
According to a press statement made available to journalists in Bauchi on Saturday by his counsels, the commissioner stated that he would do everything possible within the law to pursue the case to a logical conclusion.
The statement informed that the cleric, popularly called Malam Idris, commenced a diatribe against the commissioner and his principal, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, precisely on 2nd April 2021.
It added that Malam Idris’ allegation against Zaki that his life was being threatened by both the governor and the commissioner was a very weighty, sensitive but baseless criminal allegation.
“Discerning observers, especially in Bauchi State, may recall that on the eve of the just-concluded Ramadan fasting for the year 2021/1442 A.H. precisely on Friday 2 April 2021, the said Imam Idris Abdulaziz or Malam Idris, as he is commonly called, dedicated the better part of his sermon to unleashing yet another diatribe on the person, character and standing of Honourable Abdurrazak Nubu Zaki as well as the government of Bauchi State.
“In fact, the highlight of Malam Idris diatribe was very weighty, sensitive but baseless criminal allegations to the effect that he is being subjected to a repeated threat to his life by our client at the behest of His Excellency the Governor of Bauchi State,” the statement read in part.
However, Zaki alleged that the alleged diatribe by the Imam was due to their political differences, saying that he had waited for an apology from the cleric, but the man never did that.
“In the spirit of the holy season of Ramadan fasting which was around the corner at that material time, our client heeded the wise counsel of our elders among who are prominent Islamic scholars to stay action on this quite serious, defamatory and damming allegations at least for the period of the fasting.
“Based on this development, our client has decided to forward the matter to security agencies for investigation and possible prosecution.
“We reiterate our client’s commitment to doing everything possible under the laws of the land to pursue the case to its logical conclusion,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, while defending himself, the cleric alleged that both Governor Mohammed and Zaki threatened his life, declaring that he has evidence to that effect.
“Yes, I indeed disclosed in my sermon the plan by Bauchi State governor and his commissioner, Nuhu Zaki perfected to eliminate me. I have the audio messages and a written article they published and other evidence and exhibits about the plan at my disposal.
“In the series of audio messages which Nuhu Zaki released about me, there was a part where he said they will destroy me. In another part, he said he will explode me and there is another part where he vowed to ensure that my mouth gushes blood.
“When you take the word to destroy, you can destroy a person with either a bomb, a gun or with a vehicle. You can equally explode with an explosive or firearm. When you talk of gushing blood, it also connotes killing because there are animals when you kill them, blood gushes from their mouth like dog and cat,” the cleric told journalists.
He added that he has other evidence of the alleged threats in his possession, which he said he would not disclose to the public except to security agents or court of law.
“One of the reasons why I am accusing Governor Bala Mohammed is because Nuhu Zaki who is a commissioner and cabinet member makes his series of public outburst and threats, but the state government did not come out and dissociate itself from the utterances. Silence is acceptable because the commissioner’s remarks were boldly defending the government.
“Up till now, neither the governor nor government has come out to say that the utterances were the views of Nuhu Zaki and his position. The silence of the government reaffirms our belief that Nuhu Zaki cannot come out and issue threatening words, especially that choice of words without the backing of his principal, Governor Mohammed,” he said.
On the petition the commissioner sent to the police, Malam Idris said the commissioner had the right to ask the police to investigate the matter, affirming that, “whenever I am invited by the security operatives, I will honour the invitation and defend myself.”
According to him, “the issue is nothing but the role we played in bringing this administration to power. Because we needed to address bad governance in Bauchi State, we rejected the immediate past government and voted Bala Mohammed into power.
“When he came on board, we did not see the change we yearned for and to save our integrity in the people we urged to vote him to power, we are coming out publicly to point the problems for them to rectify.