A worker with civic technology organization, BudgIT Nigeria, Moses Motoni, on Wednesday narrated how he was chained, handcuffed and driven to Abuja by police officers.
He was arrested by the police in Kaduna for sensitizing some Niger state residents on budget tracking.
Motoni, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on his experience, explained that he was not informed about his crime or the complainant.
According to him, the policemen simply said he was being arrested for “inciting the populace and trying to impeach the Emir of Bida.
Motoni’s troubles began when he visited the Bida, Niger State last Friday to sensitize residents of the Niger South Senatorial District on the zonal intervention projects awarded to their constituency in the 2017 Budget.
The exact project was the “installation of transformers and electrification of the following communities: Nowanya-Tawadzuru tiffin-Emitswachi-Tawadzuru Tako in Gbako LGA, Niger South Senatorial District, Niger State-N25m,” as stated in the 2017 Appropriation Act.
Moroni was however arrested on Monday after he was tricked into visiting the DHL office at Markafi market, Kaduna to pick a parcel where he was forcefully taken into a vehicle and brought to Abuja by policemen who disguised as DHL personnel.
The BudgIT worker explained that he simply enlightened the people about constituency projects in their communities and how to track the budget for it.
Motoni said he was surprised by allegations that he wanted to incite the public and impeach the traditional ruler in Niger.
He said: “I was arrested in Kaduna and being driven from there to Abuja was hell for me because I was handcuffed in both legs and my elbows were handcuffed to a chair which dislocated my joints.
“I wasn’t actually sitting down, I squatted from Kaduna to Abuja which was a journey of about two and a half hours.
“It was when I got to Abuja that I was properly debriefed about the reason for my arrest.”
Motoni denied that his engagement with the Bida community would lead to a breach of the peace, noting that the idea of budget tracking was to encouraged the community members to engage their representatives at the National Assembly and ensure the budgeted projects are implemented.
“They (policemen) said they got a complaint that I was trying to incite the public, create a breach of trust and impeach the Emir. But this is not true, I went to the community to educate the people on how they can engage their representatives on the implementation of the projects,” he stated.
He said he was not cowed by the police, noting that he would still visit Niger State to continue his advocacy work.
“With my experience with the so far, I am still going to go to Niger State, because I love doing this job, I love encouraging the community about the projects because they go a long way in stardardising the community’s standards of living,” he noted.
The Team Lead, BudgIT Nigeria, Oluseun Onigbinde explained that the budget tracking project was meant to simplify the budget and create citizens awareness about the fiscal document so they could demand accountability.
He condemned Motoni’s arrest which he alleged was instigated by the National Assembly representatives from the area.
He explained that Senator Sani Mohammed had put a phone call to Motoni, inviting him to a meeting in his house which he declined because BudgIT tracking personnel were not allowed to meet with public officials privately.
Onigbinde said, “After this, we believe the senator reached out to the Nigeria police and accused Motoni of plotting to topple the Emir of Bida following which he was arrested, handcuffed and taken to SARS’ office in Abuja. We condemn this abuse of power by the police and we plan to take up the issue with President Buhari, the and the Senate President;