The founder and president of Chocolate City Group, Audu Maikori, has been released by the Nigerian police after his arrest in Lagos on Friday.
His release was confirmed by Chocolate City’s chief operations officer, Paul Okeugo. “Audu has been released and unharmed,” he said on Saturday evening.
Maikori was arrested by of policemen attached to the inspector-general’s monitoring and intelligence team over ‘inciting comments’ he made on social media on Southern Kaduna killings. He was moved to Force Headquarters in Abuja, where he was kept till Saturday.
In a series of tweets on January 23, Maikori alleged that five students of Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kafanchan, were murdered by Fulani herdsmen.
“My driver’s younger brother and five others students of college of education Gidan Waya were ambushed and killed by herdsmen yesterday #SouthernKaduna,” he said in one of the tweets.
But the school’s management denied that any of its students was killed. Kaduna State also condemned the misinformation and vowed to prosecute rumour peddlers.
Before his arrest, however, Maikori apologised for the wrong information contained in his tweets, claiming that he was misled by his driver, who himself was an indigene of Southern Kaduna. The driver, he said, was handed over to the police after he (Maikori) decided to further investigate the story to “ensure that all the facts of the case and evidence were presented to the authorities.”
“I hereby tender an unreserved and sincere apology to the Management of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, His Excellency the Governor of Kaduna State and the Kaduna State Government, and also to the people of Southern Kaduna and the Fulani community and also VANGUARD newspapers whose source was my driver for the false statement by my driver which I also publicized believing same to be true,” Maikori said in a statement on February 5.
“This action is made even more imperative because I understand that as a leader in my community, my statements are taken seriously and shapes the narrative. But nothing is more important in leadership than owning up to mistakes honestly and with integrity regardless of the repercussions or circumstances.”
Southern Kaduna, for a few weeks, was a scene of bloody conflicts between suspected Fulani herdsmen and indigenes of the area with scores of the residents killed. The conflicts forced the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew on Zangon Kataf which was only relaxed on February 4 to “6 pm and 6 am”.