DSS arrest of Sufin Zamani over ‘Hausa actresses don’t stay in marriage’ song, unconstitutional, illegal — HURIWA

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the arrest and detention of Hausa singer, Sarfilu Umar Zarewa, better known as Sufin Zamani, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) as an affront to the constitutionally guaranteed human rights of the detained musician.

The rights group is therefore advocating his immediate release.

The group said if anybody feels that his song has libeled the person, then such a person should Institute a civil suit and not to resort to the use of DSS to do such a civil matter when Nigerians are now being bombarded by terrorists which should be the priority of the DSS and not get into such petty civil matter.

HURIWA recalled that the musician, Zarewa, was reported by authorities of the Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) for putting out a record titled ‘Matan Fim Ba Sa Zaman Aure’. The title suggested that “Northern actresses don’t stay in a marriage;” with Kannywood actresses alleging that it was derogatory to them.

HURIWA recalled that in a statement signed by Al-Amin Ciroma, the National Public Relations Officer of MOPPAN, the association said a complaint letter was written to it by Wasila Isma’il, the veteran actress, on behalf of other women in the industry.

It said they demanded justice from the leadership of the association over a record done by Zarewa. The statement also quoted Wasila as saying that the women felt insulted by the lyrics of the song.

MOPPAN stated that Ahmad Sarari, the National President of MOPPAN, thereafter ordered an investigation to be carried out.

HURIWA, however, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, condemned the arrest of the musician by the DSS and has asked the Director-General of the agency, Alhaji Yusuf Magagi Bichi, to order his officers to free the illegally detained musician forthwith and profusely apologise to him over the flagrant violations of his human rights because in as much as he did not name any particular actress in the said song, arresting him for manifesting and celebrating the fruits of his creative tendencies and talents amounts to anti-intellectualism, unconstitutional, illegal and primitive.

The civil rights group reminded the DSS that Nigeria was a constitutional democracy and not a dictatorship or theocracy.

“HURIWA is praying the DSS to get busy by arresting and crushing all the armed terrorists destroying lives and property of the citizens.

“HURIWA cited relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution to affirm that the DSS has committed egregious breach of the constitutional rights of this illegally detained Hausa Musician thus: “35. (1) Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law – (a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty; and 39. (1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”

“HURIWA has therefore called for the immediate, unconditional and swift release of this Nigerian Musician and with great deal of apologies and compensation,” the statement read in part.

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