… Says Force delights only in parading but no prosecution
By Emmanuel Elebeke
A pro-democracy and civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has challenged the Nigeria Police Force to transparently account for the whereabouts of the well over 500 paraded suspected armed Fulani bandits; kidnappers and other sundry armed hoodlums arrested by them since the early part of this year.
HURIWA said it was regrettable that whereas the Nigeria Police Force forcefully and frequently parade hundreds of suspected armed kidnappers and hoodlums but only very few notably the Billionaire kidnapper Mr. Evans has been prosecuted whereas all others arrested around the Northern axis made up of armed Fulani herdsmen turned bandits and kidnappers have seldom been known to have been prosecuted the same way that Evans the billionaire kidnapper has faced the long arm of the law before the Lagos State High Court of justice for his heinous crimes against humanity.
The Rights group stated that it is inconceivable that the offices of the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation, including the Attorney Generals of the respective states in some Northern States like Zamfara will allow the Zamfara State governor to embark on negotiated settlements with armed Fulani bandits who are responsible for some 3,000 mass murders instead of bringing these culprits to face justice in accordance with the laws.
In a statement on Monday signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA stated that there is the urgency of the now for the top hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force to transparently render accounts publicly and open up the books and detention facilities to the National Human Rights Commission and credible civil Rights advocacy groups all across the country to verify the exact situations concerning the progress of prosecution or otherwise of the well over 500 paraded suspected armed Fulani bandits and kidnappers.
The Rights group said the measure is necessary so the insinuations that the Police usually set free these armed Fulani bandits and armed herdsmen as soon as they are paraded in the media is doused.
It wondered why suddenly there is a spike in armed Fulani banditry in faraway Enugu state in which over two dozen innocent persons including Catholic priests have been slaughtered.
‘‘There is the accusation that those inflicting terror in Enugu state may have been those set free by the police authority in Abuja and far North.
“There is a widespread perception by a lot of Nigerians that the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force are playing to the gallery by always parading armed suspected kidnappers and armed Fulani herdsmen just to deceive Nigerians but this same Nigeria Police headed by Alhaji Adamu Muhammad is accused of not being straightforward with Nigerians regarding what happens with these armed Fulani bandits as soon as the media goes to the market with the propaganda that they have been arrested and paraded.
‘‘Under the Freedom of information Act the law makes it incumbent on the Police and law enforcement authority to render proper and verifiable accounts of the arrests and also constantly let Nigerians know what has become of these suspects so this groundswell of accusations of ethnically coloured policing style is not sustained,” the statement said.
“It would be recalled that about 36 suspected kidnappers were nabbed and paraded by the Kogi State Commissioner of police in the state earlier in the year, CP Hakeem Busari, who paraded the suspects at the police command in Lokoja and stated that the feat was made possible through the efforts of men of “Operation Puff Adder” in the state.
‘‘Amongst those paraded was one Christopher Attah, an apprentice at Okoye Clinic, Ankpa, who was arrested for allegedly conspiring with others to kill a doctor, who is the proprietor of the clinic.
‘‘CP Busari said Attah and three other suspects – Suleiman Idris, Abdulwahab and Abdul Abu – allegedly killed the doctor after robbing him of N1.6 million cash.
‘‘He also said two kidnap suspects, John Okonkwo and Lawal Gambo, were arrested in the process of collecting N10 million ransom for the kidnap of one Mr Uchenna Ogbu, a cow dealer in Lokoja on June 5,’’ it added.