12 February 2013

Nigeria: Police Detain Three Wazobia Radio Reporters

Kano — The Police in Kano state have detained three staff of Wazobia FM, investigating the contents of a programme they aired last week.

According to head of station, Sanusi Bello Kankarofi, Mohammed Suleiman Gama (Head of programmes), Yakubu Musa Fagge (presenter) and Mubarak Muhamad Sani (reporter) were invited to the Bompai Police HQ around 9:30am on Sunday for questioning and have remained in detention since then.

Detained alongside the trio is Abubakar Rabo, former director of Kano Films and Censorship Board.

Trouble started after the station aired a programme on alleged fraud in the polio vaccination exercise a few days before the attack on vaccination workers in two local government areas, leading to the death of 9 of them.

Rabo's younger brother, Ali Usman, told Daily Trust that the his brother was arrested even though he was fasting.

"At a point the policemen guarding them started threatening us, saying we should leave the place or risked being shot," he said.

The station had packaged an investigative report on the conduct of the exercise after an attack on one of its reporters, Mubarak Sani, at the home of the Alhaji Rabo while polio officials and a group of men said to be PDP supporters were trying to force Rabo to allow the immunization officials vaccinate his children.

In the course of collecting information in the ensuing fracas, Sani was allegedly beaten up and his equipment seized.

The police are trying to establish a connection between the contents of the said programme and the shooting of the vaccination workers, Daily Trust learnt.

"The accusations are mere conjectures to humiliate the journalists for political reasons," Kankarofi said.

"We have asked their accusers to tell us which programme was aired to warrant the attack on policemen escorting polio workers recently and they could not answer," he said.

Meanwhile, Kano State police commissioner Ibrahim K. Idris had confirmed the arrest, saying however that details would be made available after investigations.

"It is not an issue of journalism; it is an issue of suspects of criminal intent. When investigation is completed, we will brief you on it," he told journalists.

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