The Chairman, Board of Trustee (BoT), Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Nastura Ashir Shariff, and the National Coordinator of the group, Balarabe Rufai, have been arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services.
It was alleged that the CNG leaders had planned to hold a press conference and discuss how to issue quit notices to certain ethnic nationalities in the North.
The coalition spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and the Director, Aminu Adams, told journalists that the duo were picked up on the road on their way from NAF Club in Kaduna, the venue of a botched press conference on the “security challenges” in the country.
A statement issued by the coalition on Friday read, “We are still working to establish connection with them or trace where they were taken to. Both their phone lines have been unreachable for the past two hours.
“It may not be unconnected with a planned press briefing by the CNG at the NAF Club, Kaduna which security agents had prevented from holding.
“The Kaduna DSS director had called us earlier today and tried to threaten us against going ahead with the briefing. We stood our ground and insisted on our right to freedom of association and expression.
“A few minutes afterwards, we were called from the NAF Club and informed that they were ordered from above to refuse us the use of the hall.
“We then went to tell the pressmen who were already gathered at the venue about the development and asked them to disperse since the briefing had been suspended.
“As we left the NAF Club and were driving along adjacent Nagogo road, a hooded Peugeot car blocked the lead car which was conveying the two officials and ordered them into the Peugeot and sped off.
“Journalists had to wait at a new hideout around Katsina Road, in an isolated building. It was while there that they were told that the organisers of the press conference had been picked up by suspected security personnel.”
Adams alleged that the duo must have been to Abuja, as they could not be found at Kaduna police command headquarters and other places visited in search of the arrested leaders.
The botched action of the northern groups may have been influenced by the recent campaign against Fulani herdsmen, who have been blamed for many of the killing and kidnapping cases in the South.
For instance, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, recently gave herdsmen in his state seven days to leave government-owned forest reserves because of the criminal activities allegedly perpetrated there by people masquerading as Fulani herdsmen.
An Oduduwa Republic agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, also gave Fulani herdsmen seven days to leave Ibarapa area in Oyo State.
This week, some Edo State youths also gave Fulani youths 14 days to leave the state, saying their “people can no longer travel” because of fear of being killed or kidnapped by Fulani kidnappers.