On Saturday, October 17, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a report claiming that the State Security Services (SSS) in Kano state arrested some Nigerians protesting the insecurity in the Northern region of Nigeria.
The report published on Punch newspaper, the Cable and Inside Arewa News claimed that the security operatives in plain clothes arrested four “anti-government” protesters in Kano on Friday, October 16, 2020.
According to the report, the protesters were also being detained by the SSS in Kano State.
Investigations by the CDD show that no member of the group protesting the insecurity in the North was arrested or detained by operatives of the SSS.
CDD fact-checkers gathered that the SSS invited leaders of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG)under the chairmanship of Nastura Ashir Shariff in Kano.
The invitation extended to the CNG leaders by the SSS followed the group’s scheduled protest to raise the issue of the insecurity in the region for government’s improved intervention.
The leaders who arrived at the SSS office at 9.30 pm on Friday, October 16, 2020, had a meeting which lasted for six-hours with the security operatives.
The group members left the SSS office and continued with their planned protest on Saturday, October 17, 2020, with take-off from Daula Hotel to the Police Headquarters in Bompai, Kano.
At the State’s Police Headquarters, the group handed a letter to the Kano Commissioner of Police before dispersing.
Also, reacting to the reports of the arrest, Sheriff confirmed to CDD fact-checkers that, no member of his group was arrested or detained by the SSS.
Shariff said: “Well what happened was that on Thursday, October 14, we began our protest and hired thugs were sent to attack us, among the wounded were three journalists, on Friday we held a press conference condemned the act because the attack happened in front of police, but they did nothing”.
“We then decided to continue with the protest on Saturday, but police and DSS said we couldn’t do it because there will be no protest in Kano, they, therefore, invited us and we said to them no protest in Kano? For what reason? Protest is our civic and constitutional right. Protests are ongoing in the South, why are you trying to stop it here? We had a long discussion and later reached a consensus”.
“The reason some people thought we were arrested was that our larger members couldn’t reach us on our phones at the time we were at the DSS office because the meeting lasted more than six hours (from 9:30 pm to 3 am), so they thought we were arrested, but we were not”.
Kano protesters were not arrested or detained by operatives of the SSS as widely reported.
CDD fact-checkers found out that members of the group who had started their protest on Thursday, October 15, 2020, against the insecurity in the North and were invited for a six-hours protest by the SSS on Friday, October 16, 2020.
The protesters left the Kano command of the SSS and continued with their protest the next day, Saturday, October 17, 2020.
CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity stories before sharing them. You can also forward suspicious messages for verification via WhatsApp to +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica
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