Lawyer, activist and businessman Audu Maikori was freed from security custody yesterday on bail following his arrest on Friday for allegedly spreading false information on the Southern Kaduna killings.
Maikori was picked up in Lagos and flown to Abuja preparatory to his possible arraignment in court tomorrow.
The owner of Chocolate City is believed to have been picked up on the strength of the information he posted on social media about two weeks ago in which he claimed that six students of the College of Education in Gidan-Waya, Kaduna, were killed by Fulani herdsmen during an attack on the school.
Among the dead, according to him, was his driver’s younger brother.
The information turned out to be untrue, prompting a retraction and apology from him to the authorities of the school and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State who said false information has always been the major cause of the incessant killings in Southern Kaduna.
Former Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili revealed yesterday her efforts to make El-Rufai change his mind about prosecuting Maikori more so after the activist had apologized.
Ezekwezili, in a series of tweets said: “I urged the @GovKaduna to get @Audu out & he replied that his policy of Consequences was important for stemming killings in #SouthernKaduna.
“The @GovKaduna stated that the actions for which @Audu apologized inflamed the#SouthKaduna conflict more & so the law taking its course.
“I asked the @GovKaduna to consider @Audu ‘s apology and his unfortunate arrest as a TEACHABLE MOMENT for both the Government & everyone.
“People already know how stridently I insist on EVIDENCE-BASED ADVOCACY. WE all must take a LESSON from this. @GovKaduna @Audu. #LESSON
“There’s no basis for a Govt clamp down on Citizens’ FACT-BASED advocacy on ANY ISSUE. So @Audu admitted he was WRONG. Accept it @GovKaduna
“I told @GovKaduna that it was best to FREE @Audu & use this as the Govt’s POLICY MOMENT to get its MESSAGE of CONSEQUENCES thru to Public.
“@GovKaduna stated that he had personally reached out asking @Audu to not post those particularly untrue stories but he had continued.
“I pressed on the NECESSITY for@GovKaduna to act to FREE @Audu and allow all sides to LEARN the RIGHT LESSON from this painful episode.
“At the end of our discussion,@GovKaduna agreed to ACT and FREE@Audu quickly and end this unfortunate development. WILL WATCH OUT FOR IT.
“@GovKaduna had stated that @Auduwould be charged to court on Monday. I urged that since he already apologized,Police can CAUTION & RELEASE.
“Upon release today, I very much hope that @GovKaduna and @Audu can find points of COLLABORATION on#SouthernKaduna after this sad episode.
“All folks on the two sides of the divide baying for blood really must know that Nigeria CANNOT SURVIVE a Religious War. Shield YOUR SWORDS.”
Maikori’s lawyer, Mark Jacob confirmed the release of his client on bail yesterday.