How Katsina Hisbah detained journalist for requesting interview over death of resident


A journalist, Jamil Mabai, has narrated his ordeal at the hands of officials of the Katsina State Hisbah Board, alleging he was detained and threatened by the Islamic police outfit.

Mabai said the development followed his request for a follow-up interview on an incident that led to the death of a resident.

He said he was at the Hisbah office to get a clearer picture of what transpired at a wedding ceremony where Hisbah operatives fired shots to disrupt the event because a disc jockey, DJ, was performing.

According to the journalist, Hisbah officials fired AK47 guns which sadly took the life of a guest, Mallam Gambo and injured many others.

The Katsina State Hisbah Board had for no specific reason banned the activities of DJs in the state.

This was made known by Zagazola Makama, a Lake Chad Basin counterterrorism and insurgency expert, in a post on his X handle on Wednesday.

While at the office to learn more about the unfortunate incident involving Hisbah operatives, Mabai was tricked into a corner where he was arrested and his phones confiscated on the orders of the Commandant.

Mabai narrated: “Following the ugly incident at the wedding ceremony, I contacted the Katsina Hisbah Public Relations Officer (PRO) to request a follow-up interview regarding Mallam Gambo’s death.

“Upon my arrival at the Hisbah office, I couldn’t find the PRO. Unknown to me, it was a setup. Soon enough some Hisbah officers approached me, claiming they were instructed to detain me.

“Despite explaining that I was a journalist there for an interview, they insisted that they had orders to detain me and confiscated my phone. I was thereafter herded into a cell.

“I was later brought before the Commandant in his office where he threatened to deal with me for fighting with religion and God.

He said there was nothing I or anybody could do to stop him and his officers from carrying on with their activities and warned me to steer clear otherwise I would have myself to blame.

“Even when I informed them that detaining a journalist in their premises without any reason or opportunity to write a statement is a clear violation of press freedom, the arrogant officials were not bothered.

“I was released after more than an hour of tongue-lashing and threats”.

The security expert expressed worry about the ordeal suffered by journalist Mabai in the hands of Katsina State Hisbah.

He said the development once again raised serious questions about the activities of the so-called moral police in the North and also stirred concerns about what the proposed state police could be used for in the states if eventually created.

Makama said a civil servant in the state, who pleaded not to be named for fear of harassment, said it is rather worrisome that the Katsina State Government is watching while Hisbah operatives are running riot in the state with their provocative actions.

“The Katsina State Hisbah operatives who are mostly illiterates who barely understand their mandates are known and reviled for provocative actions against residents of the state all in the name of instilling morals.

“They go about the streets harassing innocent citizens; they flog people, forcefully cut people’s hair, destroy and cart away people’s wares and so on”.

Makama said it was more worrisome that those barely literate, poorly-trained individuals wield assault rifles in the calibre of AK 47 with which they terrorize residents.

He stated that a number of people whose opinions were also sought on the activities of the organization were of the view that the State Government must rein them in before they cause a serious crisis in the state.

Makama said they wondered why a resident should lose his precious life simply because a bunch of moral thugs are against a DJ performing at a wedding.

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