Following the calls for restriction of social media use in Nigeria by Senate and sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah, more facts have emerged as to why such bill was sponsored.
It was gathered that Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah had been hounded by a social crusader group who have been calling for his recall from the Senate before the sponsoring of the bill.
In an apparent bid to stop his recall and in the long run, limit the flow of information regarding his past life, he sponsored the anti-social media bill.
A Northern Nigeria social crusader group, Citizens United for Peace and Stability (CUPS) organiation in London has accused Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah of being an ex-drug trafficker and is keen to gag the social media from exposing him further.
According to the group, he was arrested along with 9 others in 1993 for stealing about 270 kilograms of Heroin during the tenure of Mr. Baffa Jumare, who was the Executive Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in 1993.
Senator Bala was an Ex-NDLEA Commandant of C port in Apapa, Lagos. He and 9 others including the Special Assistant to the Chairman, stole the drugs at the headquarters of the NDLEA command, which was located at No. 2, Roxtone Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
They were detained and kept at Police CID Headquarters, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos. The case against Na’Allah and the others is still pending and has never been tried in a court of law due to corruption at the NDLEA.
To further worsen his situation, an unnamed very senior NDLEA official wrote CUPS and here is the message below
“I have read your post on Bala Ibn Na’Allah and his empty threats about your commitment to salvage Nigeria from corrupt public officials like Ibn Na’Allah.
As a lawyer, Bala should have known that the law has made provisions for defences to be adduced in court to persons standing trial for defamation of character. Actions of defamation cannot succeed in a court if it can be established that the statement made is factual and one of overriding public interest. On the first defence, presently in Nigeria the Freedom of Information Act has been passed into law. What this means is that the publisher can write to NDLEA, the former employer of the Senator to request for confirmation of the allegation against Na’Allah.
Secondly, it is a matter of overriding public interest for every Nigerian to expose corrupt and dishonest public officials.
The fact of the case against Ibn Na’Allah was that in 1993 one Joe Brown Akabueze who imported a large quantity of Heroin weighing 270 Kg into Nigeria through the Apapa Sea Port was apprehended by men of the NDLEA. The Senator was then the Area Commander of NDLEA Apapa Sea Port. Himself along with the then Special Assistant to the CCE NDLEA (Mr. Jerry Kundusi, a one time member of Adamawa House of Assembly, representing Numan Constituency) and others carted away with 12 parcels of the heroin seized from Joe Brown during the reign of AIG Bappa Jama’are, as CCE NDLEA.
The plot was actualised when the AIG was on an official trip to Egypt when Bala and his gang broke into the office and stole the 12 parcels weighing over12 Kg. This led to the removal of Jama’are as CCE NDLEA. He was a very honest man.
The then military regime inaugurated a committee headed by late General MM Bamaiyi with the mandate of investigating the case of the missing parcels. The evidence against Bala and others were overwhelming that the committee recommended their prosecution before the Miscellaneous Offences Tribunal. The gang was detained at the CID division at Alagbon before they were remanded in prison custody pending trial. They were then prosecuted.
The present CCE of NDLEA Ahmadu Giade was a member of the Bamaiyi Committee and will be glad to cooperate with you. I cannot say with accuracy how Bala and his gang got off the hook but will agree with you that they got their freedom through corruption. Thanks.”
According to CUPS, Senator Bala would be recalled from the Senate and to achieve that, they gave began the collection of signatures from his constituents.
In a press statement, the chairman of the group, Dr.Idris Ahmed, released the major steps to be taken.
For the avoidance of doubt, the process of recalling Senator BalaIbnNa’Allah from the Senate is well organised, structured, and transparent. The major steps involved are outlined below:
1. Community leaders at grass-roots level in Yauri and Zuru Senatorial District are sending an initial petition letter to Senator BalaIbnNa’Allah, in which all the allegations of wrongdoing labeled against him are detailed. This letter is copied to the INEC Chairman. Senator Bala is given two weeks to respond.
2. An independent committee made of distinguished scholars and lawyers on constitutional matters, ex-law enforcement agents, human rights activists and ex-politician is drafted from all parts of Nigeria to look into the allegations labeled against BalaIbnNa’Allah. The committee will guarantee that he is not witch-hunted by anyone.
3. Petition signatures are collected from at least 51% of the electorate who voted for BalaIbnNa’Allah during the last general election. Already 30,000 signatures have been collected. These signatures must be verifiable by INEC.
4. Within 90 days of collecting and verifying these signatures, INEC is obliged by law to organise a vote in Yauri and ZuruSenetorial District for the electorate to decide whether to recall BalaIbnNa’Allah from the Senate or not.
5. A simple majority of whatever number of people that turned up and voted against him during the recall voting is enough to seal the recall of BalaIbnNa’allah from the Senate.
Senator Bala has also been accused for going on rampage in his Kebbi South Senatorial District, harassing, intimidating, and unlawfully arresting activists collecting signatures for his recall.