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Hardship: DSS grills Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Auwal for criticizing Tinubu

The Department of Security Services (DSS) has questioned Sheikh Auwal Shariff, a famous Islamic preacher located in Zaria, Kaduna State, about his recent sermon in which he criticized President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Sheikh Auwal Shariff is a renowned critic of the Nigerian government, and in one of his recent sermons at Juma’at prayer, he blamed Tinubu’s poor economic policies for the pains and inflation Nigerians are currently experiencing.

In one of the videos of his sermons, Shariff had likened the power transition between former President Muhammadu Buhari and Tinubu to that of Pharaoh and Haman, Daily Nigerian reports.

He also berated the president for the hasty decision to remove petrol subsidy.

He said, “Tinubu and Buhari are like Pharaoh and Haman; there is no difference between them. If not for Tinubu’s lack of respect and dignity for Nigerians, how can you announce the removal of subsidy in your inaugural speech?

“After announcing the removal on the inauguration stage, the petrol price jumped from around N200 to over N600 before the president left the venue.

“And people just laughed it off, as though nothing happened. What kind of people are we?

“Ideally, he should have consulted his economic team before making such a hasty decision; even the military, which rules by decree, don’t make that kind of pronouncement.”

A close ally of the cleric told Daily Nigerian that the cleric was quizzed for some hours before he was asked to go home last Friday by the DSS operatives in Kaduna.

The source said: “They came back again after the Juma’at prayer, but could not meet him. So they left behind a letter and a phone number for him to call.

“Upon his arrival from the mosque, Malam reached out to them, confirming the receipt of their letter.

“He offered to go to their office immediately, but we advised him against it. Even the SSS asked him to wait until Monday, but he insisted on going to know the reason for the invitation, and prove his innocence.

“He went and had a discussion with them, and after hours of grilling, he was allowed to go home.

“From what we gathered, the order to arrest Malam was from Abuja, but somehow the matter was handled by the Kaduna State Command,” he said.

The source said the secret police had security concerns about some of his sermons and the level of participation from people of all faiths.

“He was advised to be less critical due to the fragile nature of the polity,” the source added.

According to the source, his ordeal may be related to his recent critiques of economic hardship and some of the country’s senior lawmakers.

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