Nigerian soldiers arrest Islamic cleric and his wife in Abuja

An Islamic scholar, Muhammad Alkandawi, and his spouse, Ubaida Abdulmalik, have been apprehended by men of the Nigerian Army in the Federal Capital Territory.

The couple was whisked away from their residence in the Dei-Dei neighbourhood in Abuja.

According to reports, the cleric’s wife, along with three of his associates, were initially detained on Saturday, followed by the cleric’s arrest on Tuesday (yesterday).

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The cleric was said to have released a video and audio recording earlier where he mentioned that his three companions were released after being arrested, while his wife was taken to the Mogadishu Cantonment by the army.

Alkandawi, also known as Sarkin Malamai, went on to explain that the soldiers contacted him via his wife’s phone and instructed him to present himself at the FIB unit in the cantonment so that his wife could be released.

Daily Trust quoted the cleric saying. “I am not a soldier, nor one who committed terrorism or kidnapping; why are the soldiers engaging me in an issue I am not even aware of?’’

As he mentioned, the soldiers turned down his previous attempts to meet with them at the Zuba Police Division or at the FCT Police Command.

Reports claimed that the cleric had been involved in a heated land dispute with Ali Zuma, also known as Mai Gidan Dambe, a local sports centre operator in the community.

Ali Zuma was released from police custody last Thursday after being held for nearly a week.

However, it remains unclear if this dispute is related to the cleric’s arrest.

The spokesperson for the FCT command, SP Josephine Adeh, has not yet made any official comment regarding the incident.

Also, both the spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, and the Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, have not issued any statement on the development as of the time of filing this report.

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