The Bauchi State Police Command has declared a cleric in the state, Idris Abdulaziz, wanted.
This is disclosed in a Special Police Gazette made available to journalists in Bauchi on Thursday.
The police bulletin which was through the command Criminal Investigation Department, displaye the picture and details of Abdulaziz and pledged reward for anyone who assist in his arrest.
According to the bulletin, Abdulaziz is declared wanted for contempt of court.
When contacted for comment on the development, Abdulaziz’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmad Musa, said the declaration by the police is not something new as the state government is using state resources to suppress the voice of the opposition.
He said, “This is not something new, Malam Idris Abdulaziz is the only person speaking the truth to power. The state government is using state resources to suppress him and silence him, which they will fail.”
Our correspondent reported that Musa had accused the Bauchi State Government of using the state judicial branch to politically witch-hunt his client.
He said that on Monday, the state government through the office of the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hassan El-Yakub, filed fresh charges at the Chief Magistrates Court, Bauchi, against the wanted cleric.
He said, “This is coming week after my client went into exile after security agents raided his Dutsen Tanshi residence in the Bauchi metropolis on January 24, to execute a search warrant.
“Abdulaziz left Bauchi State to flee persecution and arbitrary arrest and detention by the Bauchi government following trumped-up charges accusing him of committing blasphemy against religious creed. He has successfully left Bauchi to a safer place.”.
The Islamic cleric has denied charges against him by the state government of “inciting disturbances, insulting or inciting contempt of religious creed.”
The hearing of notice for the fresh case against Abdulaziz was pasted at his residence situated at Dusten Tanshi, in the Bauchi metropolis.
According to the court documents, the case was supposed to come up on Tuesday, February 6.
However, Musa, on Tuesday, said the new charges contain the same allegations being tried at the Upper Sharia Court 1, Bauchi after Abdulaziz was first arraigned last April.
“The case went from the Upper Sharia Court 1, Bauchi State to High Court, Bauchi and now it is properly before the Court of Appeal, Jos Division,” Musa explained.
Musa alleged that the twist of events in the case against his client has further exposed the political inclination of the state government to use the state judicial branch to persecute Abdulaziz.
Abdulaziz is a popular Islamic cleric based in the Dutsen Tanshi area of the Bauchi metropolis.
His ordeals began last April when he told a gathering that he does not need the support of any person when in difficult times, not even Prophet Muhammad, but only God.
“In difficult times I don’t need the support of Ibrahim Niase, Abdulkadir Jelani, Ahmad Tijjani (Sufi scholars), and even Prophet Muhammad except for Allah,” Abdulaziz, a strong Sunni Muslim said in his lecture on the oneness of God.
The comments generated controversy in the state and beyond. While his brethren in the Sunni sect supported him, some of his rivals from the Sufi sect have called for his prosecution, accusing him of disrespecting a religious creed.
The state government subsequently took over the case and prosecuted him.