Mahdi Shehu’s Life In Danger, Family Cries Out
The family of the Katsina State-born business mogul, Mahdi Shehu on Tuesday expressed fear for his life because they had not heard from him since his detention by the police a week ago.
Shehu, who is the chairman of Dialogue Groups, had recently accused the Katsina State Government of having squandered N52.6bn in the last five years from the state’s security account.
A member of the family, who spoke to Daily Trust on Tuesday, said the last time they heard from their breadwinner was minutes after he was bitten by a snake at the premises of the Force CID Headquarters, Area 10, Garki, Abuja.
“We’re not sure if he is alive or dead because the manner police authorities are handling his case is frightening. His health is seriously deteriorating,” the family member said.
One of Mahdi’s associates, Murtala Abubakar, had last week confirmed to Daily Trust that his friend had been taken into custody.
Efforts to get the side of Force Headquarters since last week were unsuccessful. Force spokesman, Frank Mba, did not respond to calls and text messages on Tuesday.
How Mahdi was arrested
A source close to Mahdi’s family said the embattled whistle-blower was being accused by the state government of “forgery, injurious criminal defamation and character assassination.”
The source said there were other interested parties including a serving minister and a governor from the North West.
He said Mahdi’s travails came to limelight on October 18, 2020, when the Attorney – General of Katsina State wrote a letter of direct criminal complaint to the commissioner of police in the state.
“On that very day, the commissioner raised First Information Report and charged Mahdi before the Chief Magistrate Court No 1 in Katsina.
However, nobody called him from the court, but the registrar of the court wrote a search and arrest warrant against him.
“Worried by the development, Mahdi’s lawyer went to Katsina and told them that since the defendant is not living in Katsina, the court does not have the right to serve him outside its jurisdiction.
Thereafter, they went to the High Court No 4 in Katsina and lodged similar complain.
“Eight days later, they lodged another complaint at the Upper Sharia Court, GR also in Katsina. After that, they directed one legislator to go to Malumfashi LGA where he lodged another complaint on the same issue. The cases are still pending in four different courts,” he said.
The source said while Mahdi had not been taken to any of the judges, police authorities in Abuja took over the case when some operatives blocked him when he was about to deliver a paper at the annual lecture of the J.K. Gadzama Centre.
“Over 100 policemen blocked him from having access to the centre. They told him that the IGP directed them to arrest him. However, when Gadzama came out from the premises, he described their action as balderdash; he told them they can’t take him to anywhere.
“Mahdi went in and delivered the lecture but while on his way out, one Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ellema, brought a letter to Gadzama saying Mahdi should them the following day, Wednesday, November 25, at 9am.
“He was there at the appointed time but nobody attended to him up till 9pm. It was then that a certain women went and took his full statement. Thereafter, a detention order was given that he should be taken to the Asokoro Police Station.
“When they arrived at the station, he wanted to ease himself so as to observe his prayers but they asked him to use one unhygienic toilet and he refused; instead he went to the backyard but sadly, he was bitten by a snake.
He screamed and fled the scene wailing. They took him to the Garki Hospital and they said they don’t have anti-venom or bed to admit him.
“They moved him to the National Hospital where they administered him anti-venom and a pain reliever. From there, they took him to a certain ward containing six women. He was the only man among them. One of the women had cancer, another was mentally unstable and another one had swallowed poison and was being revived.
“The following day, a team of doctors went to see him and Mahdi asked for a referral letter to seek for a better medical treatment somewhere else and the request was granted,” the source said.