Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Rabo: Pursuing The Pursuer

Wednesday, 01 September 2010

In this piece, ABDULAZIZ ABDULAZIZ writes on the recent case of an alleged illicit sex affair between the director general of Kano State Censorship Board, Malam Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem, and a minor. He raises questions from both ends of the story.

Efforts were allegedly made to 'kill' the story but it stubbornly fizzled out and when it did, it sparked a shocker to many, though some said there was nothing odd about it. However, the proponents of the oddity of the story may have the upper hand, in terms of reasons to cite: the man is exceptionally pious; that is if it can be deduced from facial expression. He was once the next in command at the state’s Sharia implementation agency, Hisbah, derogatorily tagged 'Sharia police'. He pursued filmmakers and other artists in the state as if they are the most devilish of devils. He has disowned them with unprintable words. Therefore, it should naturally be a story when a person with such a profile of Malam Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem is found wanting.

The Story

The story of the scandal, as narrated to LEADERSHIP Interval, goes thus: A patrolling police vehicle was moving along Maiduguri Road on Sunday, August 22, 2010, around 10pm when they sighted a Peugeot car parked in a bushy area by the road's shoulder near Rukayyat House. They beamed a light and the man sped off to escape. The police also accelerated to catch up with him. The police used their vehicle's siren to alert the man to stop but he refused and instead engaged them in car race.

He raced frantically following the eastern by-pass road and through Unguwa Uku quarters with the police trailing him. This made the man with the car to knock down a motorcyclist around Unguwa Uku Shago Tara. He however forged ahead, accelerating the vehicle. The latter incident, which led to inflicting injury on the motorcyclist prompted some commercial motorcyclists, to help the police in trailing the fleeing driver. He was subsequently caught up with.

The angry mob of motorcyclists began to beat up the driver as some aimed at the car, incurring serious damage on the car, before the arrival of the police who dispersed the people and arrested the driver. On reaching the police station at Hotoro Division, the runaway driver identified himself as Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem, the director general of the state’s censorship board.

On searching the car, according to a LEADERSHIP source, a young girl was found. Abdulkareem claimed that the girl was his niece and he was coming from his family house when he was trailed. The police at the station demanded that the DG tendered a written statement to that effect. He was released afterwards.

Abdulkareem, LEADERSHIP learnt on good authority, departed for Saudi Arabia a day after the incident. When our correspondent called him last Thursday, on introducing the reason for the call, the chief censor replied; "By Allah, I don't know about it."

However, Abdulkareem had confirmed the story to other journalists with the alteration that the girl was his niece, whom he was conveying from his parents house to his own house. He however appealed to the journalists to let the matter die as exposing it amounts to ridiculing Islam.

His argument, according to a clip of an interview with him obtained by LEADERSHIP, was that the whole drama was a set up to blackmail him by PDP stalwarts in the state who have been looking for a way to eliminate him. He said those people had been meeting for about three weeks, at Shagari quarters, on how to nail him.

According to him, seeing a full beam from an approaching car on that fateful day, he became scared due to the incessant threats he had been getting, he therefore accelerated unconsciously in order to save his life. He denied that it was police that trailed him, saying the police only showed up later.

Rabo admitted that he was booed as a thief to get him to stop, but he continued speeding to get to where he can be saved. He said when the police realized that the girl found with him was his daughter, they released him. The DG lamented that some people were out to cash in on the incident to damage his reputation.

When LEADERSHIP visited Wase Hospital, where Abdulmudallib Jibrin, the injured motorcyclist, was hospitalized, entry access was denied him as he sustained serious injuries on his arm and head. The victim, who is a staff of the state History and Culture Bureau said he could not recall what happened as he was taken to hospital unconsciously.


Contacted for an official position about the saga, Kano State Commissioner of Information, Barrister Haruna Isa Dederi, said the incident was cooked up by Abdulkareem's enemies in the film industry. He said for a long time a group of filmmakers have been fighting the DG to the point of issuing death threats.

However, contrary to LEADERSHIP's findings and Abdulkareem's claim that the young girl with him in the car was his nieces, Dederi said the DG was with his wife and his daughter at the time of the incident. According to him, Abdulkareem had a running stomach and therefore stopped to ease himself in the nearby bush when the police vehicle approached him in full force. Reminded that the DG was pursued by the police with a siren vehicle, the information commissioner said it was not true and that the police was in a private vehicle, not an official one.

Police Investigating

However, the Kano State deputy commissioner of police, Mr Lawan Tanko, confirmed the arrest of the DG. He said the police are investigating the issue to find out why Abdulkareem ran away when pursued by the police. "We want to know what the running was about" DCP Tanko said.

The police top man said the command would unravel the case even as he described it as nothing serious. DCP Tanko also confirmed that the DG has knocked down a motorcyclist while escaping from the trailing policemen.

The ‘Niece’

However, a neighbour of Abdulkareem at his Tarauni residence, who do not want her name in print said the girl is indeed from Abdulkareem's household. She however wondered what the two were doing in a car at such an odd hour in a less populated place, "that is if what I heard was true" she said. The little girl was identified as Fati.

As the story made waves in Kano, many people are still dumbfounded that Malam Rabo could be involved in such a mess. His sympathisers dismissed the story as unfounded but those who have a hatchet to bury with him said the man has never been the saint he claims to be.

Police, in their usual promise, said they are not leaving any stone unturned to unravel the true picture of the incident. Many people see the incident as a turning point not only in Abdulkareem's career, but in that of many of those of his ilk.

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