Niger Police to investigate threat to WikkiTimes journalist who exposed illegal mining, terrorism funding

THE Niger State Police Command said it will probe the threat to WikkiTimes Editor and author of an investigation on illegal mining and terrorism funding in Niger State, Yakubu Mohammed.

Apart from a threat to his life, Mohammed, in a report by WikkiTimes, said he also received coordinated threats against his wife, Nafisat, his friends and co-workers.

This, the report says, is connected to his investigation , which revealed how Chinese-allied miners operating under the licenses of Eso Terra Investment Limited and Majelo Global Resources Limited looted the nation’s natural resources while purportedly paying off armed bandits affiliated with Dogo Gide, a notorious kingpin terrorizing Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Kebbi states.

A police officer identified as Muhammad Hamzat by the Truecaller app called the editor’s friends and co-workers, Mustapha Gangare, Usman Babaji, and Rabiu Tahir Musa.

The Police notified them (Rabiu, Babaji, and Mustapha) that they were “sub-targets” and were invited. While Mustapha and Rabiu didn’t honour the invitation, given there was no official invitation and the suspicious nature of the invitation, Babaji met with the Police.

“It was clear they were looking for Yakubu, whom I often speak with on my phone as my editor. That was the reason they tracked our numbers. I told them he was my senior colleague and a WikkiTimes Editor. I informed them that he had travelled out but would honour their invitation on his return.

“According to the officer, the directives came from the Niger State Police Command on a story he did, noting that one of the complainants is based in Bauchi,” Babaji said.

When the officer (Hamzat) reached out to Yakubu’s wife, he threatened that he knew where she was and could have located her if he chose. He persisted in asking her where her husband was.

The spokesperson for the Niger State Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun, had said he was unaware of the search warrant but would find out while noting that the Police had the right to initiate a search against any citizen. 

The ICIR contacted the spokespersons of the Niger and Bauchi State Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun and Ahmed Mohammed Wakili, respectively, to respond to the allegations.

Abiodun said he would find out from the CIID (Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department) if the command invited Mohammed. He said he was not aware of the matter.

“Some of your colleagues have been calling me. I said let me find out if Niger State Police Command invited him. I got to know that he (Mohammed) was not around. As soon as he comes back, if the Police Command invited him, I will find out from the CIID whenever he comes back. He is not somebody that we don’t know. When he comes back, he’ll definitely honour the invitation,” Abiodun stated.

On his part, Wakilli stated that his command had no business with Yakubu. He said the command “didn’t invite him. “Call Yakubu and ask him to tell you who invited him,” he told The ICIR.

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