A deputy imam of a mosque in Madalla who went missing along with four other Muslim clerics over the past eight months has been released from the custody of the State Security Service, Daily Trust learnt yesterday.
Malam Abubakar Ahmed, the deputy chief Imam of a Madalla Juma’at mosque, which is located between the market and Mobil filling station along Abuja/Kaduna expressway in Niger State, went missing soon after the Christmas Day bombing that was blamed on the Boko Haram sect.
It emerged later that he was arrested by security operatives, few days after the Chief Imam of the same mosque was similarly arrested.
Daily Trust reported earlier in the year that five imams in Madalla went missing rather mysteriously soon after the bomb attack at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, and relations suspected that they were taken by security operatives. As well as the chief Imam of the Madalla central mosque, two other community mosques imams identified as Mohammed Sani and Shu’aibu were also arrested.
Deputy Imam Abubakar Ahmed was released about two weeks ago, he told our reporter yesterday.
Speaking to Daily Trust by telephone, Ahmed said he was arrested by security operatives and taken to Abuja same day with his nephew Mohammed Abubakar, who was living with him.
While in custody, security operatives told him he was arrested because his nephew was suspected of having links with the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnati Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram.
He said his nephew was accused of illegal dealings with someone in Onitsha, Anambra State, based on communication between them.
“It is like they have bugged his telephone line the way they are talking,” Ahmed said.
But he said he could testify to the good character of his nephew and for all the while he was with him, he had been a trader. “He sells blouse and got his supply from Onitsha,” he added.
On whether Ahmed was detained together with the other imams that were said to have been arrested earlier in Madalla, he said he did not see any of them.
Ahmed said while in custody, he was never manhandled or starved, as he was provided with three square meals every day.
He said before he was released, the SSS took his cell phone for further investigation.
He added that even after he was cleared for release, he was not just freed but was taken by the SSS to his hometown in Mai-Adu’a Local Government Area of Katsina State and handed him over to the District Head.
But he said his nephew was still in SSS detention.
When Daily Trust visited the home of still-missing Chief Imam Ahmed Adamu, who was arrested eight months ago and is yet to be released, his eldest wife Aishatu said they never heard anything about him from anywhere since then.
She appealed for the release of her husband, saying he was never known to have any criminal record.
Wife of one Babayo Sani, who was arrested by SSS allegedly for buying a house from a mother of a suspected Boko Haram member, said even though they employed the services of a lawyer she was yet to hear from her husband.
She said their case was mentioned at least three times in one of the Federal High Courts in Abuja but neither the SSS nor her husband appeared before the court.
The lawyer handling their case, Barrister Nureni Sulyman, said he was now imploring the Federal High Court 4 where the case was instituted to give his client a speedy trial. He said he has written a petition to the registrar of the court but despite that not much was achieved as the court was not able to hear the case.
He said he wrote another petition to the National Security Adviser (NSA), seeking for his intervention in the case, but got no response yet.
Speaking to Daily Trust, the District Head of Madalla, Musa J. Sa’idu, said since the imams were arrested they never heard of their whereabouts.
When contacted on the matter, the Suleja Emirate Council said through its secretary Sani Ibrahim that the case was still under investigation before the appropriate authorities.
Spokesman for the Niger State Police command Pius, when contacted, said he had never received any information on the missing imams.