Soldiers arrest cleric, wife in FCT

An FCT-based Islamic cleric, Muhammad Alkandawi, and his wife, Ubaida Abdulmalik, have been arrested by soldiers in their home in Dei-Dei community in Abuja.

City & Crime learnt that the wife, as well as three of the cleric’s associates, were earlier arrested on Saturday before the cleric was picked up on Tuesday.

In a video and audio message released by the cleric before his arrest, Alkandawi, also known as Sarkin Malamai, said his three associates were released along the way on the day of their arrest but that his wife was taken by the army to the Mogadishu Cantonment.

He further stated that the soldiers called him on phone using his wife’s contact and demanded him to make himself available at the FIB unit in the cantonment before his wife would be freed.

The cleric said, “I am not a soldier, nor one who committed terrorism or kidnapping; why are the soldiers engaging me in an issue I am not even aware of?’’

He further said that his earlier effort to meet with them at the Zuba Police Division or at the FCT Police Command was turned down by the soldiers.

City & Crime further learnt that the cleric has been engaging in a fierce land dispute with an operator of a local sport center in the community, Ali Zuma, Aka Mai Gidan dambe, who was released last Thursday after almost a week in police custody.

It was, however, not clear whether the dispute is in any way connected to the cleric’s arrest.

The FCT command’s spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, was yet to respond to a message sent to her on the incident.

Both the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu and the Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, were yet to reply to separate WhatsApp messages sent to them as at when filing this report last night.

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