Tuesday, June 22, 2021

SSS arrests Ganduje’s aide hours after demanding Buhari’s resignation

Salihu Tanko-Yakasai was taken into custody shortly after his Twitter post condemning Friday’s abduction of Zamfara schoolgirls went viral online.

• February 27, 2021
Salihu Tanko-Yakasai
Salihu Tanko-Yakasai (Credit: Twitter)

The State Security Service on Friday arrested an aide to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje hours after he criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of Nigeria’s security crisis, according to a Kano government official.

Salihu Tanko-Yakasai was taken into custody shortly after his Twitter post condemning Friday’s abduction of Zamfara schoolgirls went viral online.

His arrest was not immediately disclosed, prompting friends to take to social media to raise concerns about his whereabouts on Saturday morning.

An SSS official in Kano told the Gazette Mr. Tanko-Yakasai was arrested while returning from the mosque on Friday afternoon, adding that the governor was yet to be informed about the development.

“Alhamdulillah we just confirmed @dawisu is at DSS office,” a Kano government spokesman also said on Twitter Saturday morning, injecting immediate calm into initial apprehension palpable across the microblogging platform.

“@dawisu was arrested and taken to Abuja from kano. #FreeDawisu now!,” another friend said.

A spokesman for the police in Kano said the matter had not been reported. A spokesman for the SSS did not immediately return a request seeking comments on  Saturday morning. 

Mr. Tanko-Yakasai, who has worked as Mr. Ganduje’s media handler since 2015, was suspended from office for several weeks last year after criticising Mr. Buhari over insecurity. Both Messrs. Ganduje and Buhari are political allies of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

The SSS, a domestic intelligence outfit, has been notorious for cracking down on critics of Nigerian brutal regimes for decades. The outfit was infamous as a prime suspect in the arrest, disappearance and murder of critics under dictator Sani Abacha. 

After staying mildly away from controversies following Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999, the SSS returned to its brutal ways under Mr. Buhari, conducting regular crackdowns on critics, including Yele Sowore, Obadiah Mailafia and several journalists and activists.

An SSS official in Abuja told the Gazette that Mr. Tanko-Yakasai was taken to the agency’s facility along Yakubu Gowon Crescent in Asokoro, Abuja.

This story is still being updated as a developing event.

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