Leadership (Abuja)

24 November 2012

Nigeria: Why Zakari Biu Was Released From Detention

Indications emerged last night that a former commissioner of police in charge of special investigations, Zone 7 Police Command, Abuja, Mr. Zakari Biu, was released from detention following the conclusion of investigations into the escape of a Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto.

Biu, who was released on Tuesday, was detained at an undisclosed location for about nine months over his alleged complicity in the escape of Kabiru Sokoto,

Sokoto was said to have escaped from a team of police officers detailed by Biu to search his house in Abaji for documents relating to the activities of the sect.

It was further gathered that, during Biu's detention, neither his wife nor children were allowed to see him.

LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported on March 21, 2012, that tension was mounting as family members and associates had raised the alarm over Biu's whereabouts. A source close to the family had disclosed that the family was worried about his exact location, saying that family members had searched everywhere without getting any positive result.

The source said, "Since he has been relieved of his post, we believe that the authorities should let us have access to him. "If he has committed any offence, he should be charged to court so that we can see him. We have been looking for him for the past couple of weeks without success. His continued detention is a violation of his fundamental human rights as enshrined in section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)."

The Police Service Commission (PSC) had relieved Biu of his job. The PSC had, in a statement signed by Mr. Ferdinand U. Ekpe on behalf of the chairman of the commission, Mr. Parry Osayande, claimed that Biu's dismissal was sequel to his culpability in the escape of Sokoto.

But the statement did not say anything about prosecution of Biu for the offence that might have led to his eventual detention.

Biu, as assistant superintendent of police (ASP) during the late Gen Sani Abacha era, was said to have been part of the panel that investigated the role of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other officers over their alleged involvement in a phantom coup plot to unseat the late Abacha in 1995.

When Obasanjo took over in 1999, he reportedly claimed that he did not want to work with Biu and asked him to leave. After his removal in 1999, Biu had petitioned the inspector-general of police, saying that his removal did not follow due process.

But the PSC later found that there was no query in the file of Biu and consequently reinstated him on the grounds that it was empowered by law to determine police officers' career. The PSC further promoted him to the rank of commissioner of police (CP).

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