The Bauchi-based Islamic cleric, Mallam Idris Abdulaziz, who was detained and later released by the Department of Security Services (DSS), said yesterday that he was arrested over alleged criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The cleric, who was released on Friday, told our correspondent that he was told at the Bauchi DSS office that he had been critical of the president in his sermons.
“I was told categorically that I have been abusing the president in my sermons and other majlis (gatherings) and that they have the records. I challenged them to play one for me, but they could not present any as evidence,” he said.
He added that he told the DSS that he criticises governments at all levels if they go wrong, adding that President Buhari should not be an exception.
“I told them that I criticised former President Goodluck Jonathan more than I criticise President Buhari. I told them that I will not be biased and keep quiet when things are going wrong.
“My criticism is now more pronounced because there is so much suffering and President Muhammadu Buhari is a northerner. It will be unfair of me to have criticised Jonathan, a Christian and spared President Buhari, because he is a Muslim.
“This is not what Islam teaches. Islam teaches equity and fairness in everything and to everybody regardless of his faith. Being fair by a Muslim is not towards Muslims only. Islam teaches us to be fair and kind even to animals not to talk of human beings,” he added.
The cleric added that he was later interrogated by another DSS officer, who questioned him about his family, businesses and other things including his Garu Vigilante Outfit.
“I told them everything and informed them that the outfit was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and I paid N500,000 to be registered by the Civil Defence and we are now in the process of getting a final approval for the outfit. That was why I refused to open offices in some states despite requests for their services in those states.
“The outfit consists of both Christians and Muslims. I provided employment to many youths because their services are being utilised by corporate bodies as well as individuals. They are being paid salaries out of which we take some to run their operations. We take N3000 or N2000 from their salaries as running cost depending on how much they are paid which is N15,000 and above,” he said.
Mallam Abdulaziz added that he was later taken to Abuja, where he was further interrogated and told to be reporting to the Bauchi office every week.
“They told me to be reporting to the Bauchi DSS Command which I will start doing from Monday Insha Allah,” he said.
The Islamic cleric however stated that he did not meet Abu Ammar, the other cleric who was taken from Katsina, while in detention.
On his appointment into the PDP transition committee in the state, he said he did not request for it but that as someone “who wants to see positive change”, he accepted when the appointment was made.
He dismissed the notion that his participation in the transition committee at the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education (BASUBEB) was to witch hunt its chairman, Professor Yahya Ibrahim Yero, whom he is having disagreement with.
“Our committee is not to witch hunt; remember it is a transition subcommittee and has its terms of reference. Our own is to submit a report to the incoming government about SUBEB’s assets and liabilities and nothing more.
“What we will receive for the government from SUBEB is how much was received, what has been done, what was spent and all the on-going work and their values, that is all,” he said.
He added that he has informed the governor-elect that despite his support for him if he fails to address and ameliorate the suffering of the people of Bauchi State, he will equally be criticised.