The State Security Service, SSS, has quizzed a prominent Zaria-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Auwal Shariff, for criticizing the administration of President Bola Tinubu over economic hardship in the country.
According to reports, the cleric who is a vocal critic of President Bola Tinubu, was quizzed on Friday and released the same day.
In one of the videos, Shariff had likened the power transition between former President Muhammadu Buhari and Tinubu to that of Pharaoh and Haman.
He also lambasted the president for the hasty decision to remove petrol subsidy.
“Tinubu and Buhari are like Pharaoh and Haman; there is no difference between them. If not for Tinubu’s lack of respect and dignity for Nigerians, how can you announce the removal of subsidy in your inaugural speech?
“After announcing the removal on the inauguration stage, the petrol price jumped from around N200 to over N600 before the president left the venue.
“And people just laughed it off, as though nothing happened. What kind of people are we?
“Ideally, he should have consulted his economic team before making such a hasty decision; even the military, which rules by decree, don’t make that kind of pronouncement,” Mr Sharif said.
An insider source revealed that the cleric was quizzed for some hours before he was asked to go home.
“Some operatives of the SSS stormed the residence of Malam on Friday before Jumuat prayers, but he wasn’t at home.
“They came back again after the Jumuat prayer, but could not meet him. So they left behind a letter and a phone number for him to call.
“Upon his arrival from the mosque, Malam reached out to them, confirming the receipt of their letter.
“He offered to go to their office immediately, but we advised him against it. Even the SSS asked him to wait until Monday, but he insisted on going to know the reason for the invitation, and prove his innocence.
“He went and had a discussion with them, and after hours of grilling, he was allowed to go home.
“From what we gathered, the order to arrest Malam was from Abuja, but somehow the matter was handled by the Kaduna State Command,” he said.
The source said the secret police expressed security concern about some of his sermons and the kind of engagement they received from people of all faith.
“He was advised to be less critical due to the fragile nature of the polity,” the source added.
The source said his ordeal might not be unconnected to his recent criticisms of the economic hardship and some top politicians in the country.
When contacted, the SSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, didn’t respond to an SMS sent to his known phone number as at the time of filing this report.
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