Mohammed Wakili is the current commissioner of police in Kano State. Nicknamed ‘Maza Kwaya-Mata Kwaya’ after a video showing him animatedly chiding drug abuse went viral, he is a celebrity of sorts, and is well-known for his stand on the fight against drug abuse, and thuggery. He recently assumed duty, and within 10 days he arrested over a thousand suspected local thugs (known as ’Yan Daba’), drug addicts and dealers, and others. In the following interview, he spoke to Daily Trust Saturday on his work, newfound fame on social media, and more. Excerpts:
Daily Trust: Since your assumption of office as Kano State’s commissioner of police, you jumped into the fray against drug abuse and thuggery. What’s your special interest in this crusade?
Mohammed Wakili: I think the effect being caused by the menaces you mentioned piqued my interest and resolve to do this very important job. I understand the effect and consequences of these vices on communities, so that makes me feel that I can do something, no matter how little, to address the problem at my own level. I cannot just fold my arms and watch as such things go on without my own contribution to stop them.
DT: You reportedly achieved a lot doing same in Katsina State. How much success would you say you achieved there?
Wakili: I think I should let Katsina people to judge me. But essentially, I am not doing it to gain anything from people, or to be praised. Rather, I am doing it as a service to the society, the country, and humanity in general. Whatever I do, I do it for the sake of Allah, and for the sake of humanity.
DT: Owing to a viral video in which you discussed widespread drug abuse, in Hausa, you have been nicknamed ‘Maza Kwaya-Mata Kwaya’. Are you aware of this, and how do you feel about it?
Wakili: I am aware of it, but it does not bother me at all. Why should it? Everyone is expressing his opinion the way he perceives things. I’ve even heard that some people say that I am probably on drugs myself, but of course I am not. I am just passionate about giving my own little contribution to eliminate drug abuse, because I understand the destruction it causes.
DT: Why, do you think, people think you are a drug addict?
Wakili: Maybe my actions, and my mannerisms. Sometimes, I guess, to them I act like a drug addict. But that’s my nature. I gesticulate, twirl, and do other physical expressions that some find funny, and unusual, which is my nature. That is how God created me, and I cannot do anything about it. But I have never taken drugs in my life. Until I joined the Nigeria Police Force, I had never even heard about some of these drugs.
DT: Back to your war on thuggery and other vices in Kano, how far have you gone?
Wakili: It’s just the beginning, really, but we have arrested over a thousand of thugs, drug users, and some dealers too. We hope that we will get more of the dealers, because they are our major problem.
We’ve charged most of the ones we’ve arrested to court, and they have been sent to prison on awaiting trial, while investigation is still in progress. For those we have charged to court, we hope they will be convicted according to the gravity of their offences. We are very mindful that before we arrest anybody, we have evidence.
DT: What call do you have for other stakeholders, especially agencies like NDLEA, NAFDAC, Customs, Immigration, etc?
Wakili: All hands must be on deck to address the situation. Nigeria is such a blessed country. We have good leaders that have foresight, we have the leaders that have the masses at heart. And there are rules and regulation, laws, dos and don’ts available for us to follow and move the country forward. And an agency, ministry or parastatal is assigned to discharge the responsibilities for these rules and regulations for us to move forward. The only thing is that we, the law enforcement agencies, should actually do our jobs. So, if all the law enforcement agencies agree to fight drug abuse today, Wallahi we can do it perfectly.
DT: Any call for religious, and traditional leaders?
Wakili: They are super stakeholders, because their subjects respect them. Whenever they talk, their subjects listen. So they are very important in this fight against drug abuse, and thuggery. The Emir of Kano is concerned about these vices, and is putting in his very best in addressing the situation. I recently heard him calling for strengthening the fight against drugs and thuggery, and it is really helping us.