Last week, a strange case unfolded in Kaduna with the arrest and detention for two days in police custody of prominent businessman Alhaji Sani Dauda, better known as ASD. He is the former chairman of Peugeot Automobile, Kaduna and holds the traditional title of Garkuwan Zazzau Babba. At about 4pm last Monday, four truckloads of policemen arrived at ASD’s house in Kaduna and arrested him together with his son, Shehu Dauda. Also arrested and carted into detention at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s facility was Murtala Nasir, judge of the Shari’a Court, Magajin Gari, Kaduna. They were only released two days later when they secured a court order to free them.
What was the offence that the three men committed that necessitated such a heavy-handed police operation? ASD was about to contract the marriage of his daughter, Nasiba to Abdullahi Kulama. As it happened, Nasiba was once married to Abubakar Musa Abubakar, a man known to be very close to the current Police Inspector General, Abubakar Adamu. As far as Nasiba and the ASD family were concerned, Nasiba’s marriage to Abubakar Musa ended in January last year when a Shari’a Court judge in Tudun Wada, Kaduna dissolved it, hence she was going to remarry.
Abubakar Musa and his lawyers however make a different claim. They say that the Shari’a Court’s dissolution of the marriage was later set aside by the Upper Shari’a Court, Tudun Wada, as a result of which, they said, Nasiba filed an appeal at the Shari’a Court of Appeal in Kaduna. The case is still pending there, they said. Abubakar Musa’s lawyer also said there are other cases, arising from the same matter, that are pending in other courts, both in Kaduna State and in Abuja.
According to them, on the day that the new marriage was to be contracted, Abubakar Musa’s emissary went to ASD’s house and told them that what they were about to do was illegal in view of pending court cases, but they ignored him. In fact, he said they beat him up. The sum total of it is that this is a civil matter, which should have been properly pursued in the courts. If indeed the ASD family committed contempt of court by contracting a new marriage, Abubakar Musa should have gone back to the court and pleaded that. If the family assaulted his emissary, then that was probably criminal which should be reported at a police station.
What is not pardonable is the prompt and intense interest the police showed in this matter. To mobilise four truckloads of policemen in order to arrest ASD, in a state that is bedeviled by kidnapping and many other crimes which the police have been unable to control, was a complete misplacement of priority clearly occasioned by selfish interest. Abubakar Musa abused his close relationship with the IG and IG Mohammed Adamu Abubakar also displayed very bad judgement and abused the powers of his office by way of naked impunity. One report even had it that the Kaduna State Police Commissioner advised the IG against the move, but he insisted on it.
It is this kind of impunity that makes a mockery of democracy and rule of law. The victims in this case were prominent people; it could have been much worse if they were ordinary citizens. It is also a visible reason why the police are unable to tame serious crimes, because scarce resources are diverted into settling personal scores. In other civilized climes, this act of impunity is enough to bring a public officer’s career to a prompt end.