Bashir Tofa, opponent of MKO Abiola in the June 12 presidential election, has described the arrest and detention of Nastura Sharif as undemocratic.
Sharif, chairman of the board of trustees (BoT) of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), was arrested by the police over the protest by his group.
The group had hit the streets of Katsina on Tuesday, over the rising insecurity in the north.
In a statement, Tofa said Sharif’s arrest is a “bad example of intolerance in a democracy”, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate release of the activist.
He said failure to release him could lead to an avoidable crisis.
“The arrest and detention of Alhaji Nasturah Ashir Sheriff, the leader of the Coalition of Northern Youth, is utterly wrong, undemocratic and a very bad example of intolerance. It is unwise and unjust,” Tofa said.
“Not even during sensible and caring military rules, would citizens demonstrate peacefully about a matter that worries the entire country, and anyone be arrested. Is this a notice that nobody is allowed to say anything or to express a view, even peacefully? Is this the Democracy Nigeria is showing to the world? We hope not.
“I appeal to the President to immediately order the release of this young man with an apology, before a single match ignites the forest and conflagrate the entire North and eventually the country. So many people are angry about so many things. If this collective anger is tickled and pushed by a few who may have started some illegal action somewhere, it will easily spread.
“The 2011 violence, destruction and death that occurred when it was rumoured that Gen. Muhammad Buhari was denied his victory will be a child’s play this time around. Nigerians are very angry! Insecurity everywhere, poverty, joblessness and now Covid-19, disease, despair and desperation have eaten deep into people’s patience and good sense.
“President Buhari should be very careful. He should begin to know and appreciate his true and sincere friends, and get rid of his enemies, who do tremendous harm to his image and his own future well being and safety. He must remember that in three years, someone else will be President.”