The Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested the lead negotiator between bandits and the families of the kidnapped Abuja-Kaduna train passengers, Tukur Mamu, on Wednesday.
Mamu, who was reportedly arrested at the Cairo International Airport on Tuesday and repatriated back to Nigeria, was picked up by DSS from the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano upon his deportation from Egypt.
Mamu was said to be on his way to Saudi Arabia with his family members for lesser Hajj before he was arrested and detained by Egyptian authorities for 24 hours.
He was arrested by heavily armed operatives stationed at the entrance of the international wing of the Kano at about 1:55 pm.
Reacting to the development, the management of Desert Herald, a newspaper based in Kaduna, issued a statement on Wednesday saying: “In its efforts to intimidate and harass the publisher of Desert Herald newspaper, Malam Tukur Mamu, the federal government has surreptitiously contrived the arrest and deportation of the publisher as well as members of his family while on their way to the holy land for lesser Hajj.
“On the 5th September 2022, Mamu alongside his family planned the journey to Saudi Arabia to perform lesser Hajj.
“They travelled through Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and departed exactly at 2:00 pm aboard Egypt Airlines. They are expected to return to Nigeria on 20th September 2022.
“Immediately after their departure, we received credible information that men and officers of NIA had stormed the airport with intent to stop him from travelling.
“But their attempt to frustrate the journey was not successful as he has already left the airport en route to Cairo. But in their desperation to expound a pound of flesh, they forcefully retrieved copies of his travelling documents from immigration.
“On arrival in Cairo, Malam Tukur Mamu and family members were arrested and detained for almost 24 hours and later deported back to Nigeria on the strict request and instructions of Nigeria government.
“Mallam Tukur Mamu is a responsible citizen who voluntary engaged in negotiations that led to the release of about 20 passengers of the I’ll fated train hijacked by gunmen.
“His patriotic mission to ensure the safety of the hapless passengers made him a target of blackmail by unscrupulous elements in the government who are hell-bent on punishing him for this noble but dangerous sacrifice for the fatherland. Such threats and intimidations have forced him to reveal a number of times that his life was under serious threat.
“Due to numerous threats to his life and conspiracy from the side of security agents to frame him, he withdrew from the said negotiations but from his latest sojourn, it appears that those who are desperately praying for his head are still hell-bent on carrying out their odious dastardly plans.
“But it is our fervent hope that the evil machination of these desperate elements will be nixed by the fact that Allah is always by the side of the oppressed. This evil machination like the ones before it shall also come to pass”.