Irked by insinuations by the Director-General of Kano State Censorship Board, Malam Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem, that it was behind his ongoing sex scandal, the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) yesterday stated that the case was a litmus test for Governor Ibrahim Shekarau's presidential bid ahead of the 2011 presidential election.
MOPPAN contends that the state government must set up a high-powered committee of inquiry to look into matter, and ascertain the truth surrounding the allegation to uphold morality and recourse to Islamic legal code.
Rabo was arrested by the police in Kano on August 22, after a car chase during which he knocked down an employee of the state History and Culture Bureau.
A teenage girl was found to be in his car when the chase began - after the police had seen the car parked in a darkened area behind a building complex around 10p.m.
The chief censor has, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying the girl was the daughter of his deceased elder brother, and that she had accompanied him to see off some relatives that had broken their Ramadan fasting at his residence.
Rabo, who jetted out to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj pilgrimage a day after his arrest and bail by the police, blamed Hausa movie industry stakeholders and leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state for orchestrating the scandal in order to tarnish his image.
But in a press release signed by its national president, Malam Sani Mu'azu and administrative secretary, Malam Ahmad Salihu Alkanawy, which was made available to LEADERSHIP in Kaduna yesterday, MOPPAN said it was both aghast and dismayed by "the frantic attempts" of Rabo and some collaborators in the Kano State government and elsewhere to trivialise the sex scandal.
"We have no iota of doubt that these attempts are meant to discourage any further open discussion on the matter, portray it as an unimportant distraction in the issues of governance in the state, and then sweep it under the carpet," it said.
MOPPAN, the umbrella body of Hausa filmmakers ordered to go on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.
"This Rabo sex scandal is a litmus test for His Excellency Malam Ibrahim Shekarau's candidature for the presidency of Nigeria," it noted.
"Shekarau, who has announced his bid to run for president under his party the ANPP, should begin to show that he would be a responsive and responsible national leader when elected by not helping some elements in his present government to cover up this scandal.
"Doing so would question his motivation and commitment to the enthronement of a decent Nigeria".