Arrested journalist, Salkida, not in our custody –Army

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The Army on Tuesday said a journalist, Ahmed Salkida, who was arrested on Monday, was not in its custody.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said this while responding to enquiries from The PUNCH.

It was also learnt that the Department of State Services, which arrested Salkida on Monday, grilled the journalist on Tuesday.

Salkida was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Monday shortly after his flight from Dubai arrived at the nation’s capital.

The journalist, a female lawyer, Aisha Wakil; and Ahmed Bolori were declared wanted by the Army last month after Boko Haram released a new video showing some of the Chibok girls it abducted on April 14, 2014.

When asked if the journalist was in the custody of the Directorate of the Military Intelligence, Usman said, “No!”

Salkida was arrested by the DSS which, sources said, was still interrogating him on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the DSS might hand over the journalist to the military after concluding its interrogation.

A top security source, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “The DSS is still interrogating him. He may be handed over to the Army later.”

Attempts to get the DSS did not succeed as it had yet to get a spokesman.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday said with the arrest of Salkida over alleged link with Boko Haram, his position that the Nigerian military could declare a civilian wanted had been validated.

According to him, in efforts to secure the country from terrorism, the military has the power to summon any person to assist it in the task.

“Any person who thinks otherwise should better have a rethink and amend his or her ways to respect constituted authorities who seek information from them that will aid the fight against terrorism.

“Nigerians should support the military in its efforts to combat terrorism in our midst, not criticising the genuine efforts in this fight in national interest,” he stated.

Buratai, in a statement by his lawyer, Ugochukwu Osuagwu, on Tuesday, added that in the course of questioning any person, who was suspected to have link with terrorists, the Army might refer the person to appropriate agencies for further investigation and prosecution, especially where the facts were available.

He said, “The arrest of Salkida by both the military and Department of State Services and his non-resistance show that the military has the power under the National Security Act to declare a civilian wanted and arrest him accordingly based on intelligence gathering.

“It is all in line with the mandate of the military and other security agencies to prevent terrorism. This is even backed by the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011, particularly Section 40. “The arrest of Salkida shows that no civilian, no matter his status, is above the law.’’

Source: Punch

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