The families of 4 Fulani herdsmen who were recently kidnapped and subsequently slaughtered at KuKuri village, a settlement in Panda Development Area of Nasarawa State, have called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to, as a matter of urgency, institute an investigation to unravel the killers.
This appeal is contained in a petition filed by representatives of the four families to the IGP through the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Abuja
The families, in their petition, are demanding for justice over what they described as the senseless and gruesome killing of their members by yet to be identified gunrunners.
The alleged murder of the four herdsmen was reported to have occurred in August last year (2016) when some people invaded Kukuri village and rustle over 300 cows and 100 ships of the deceased to an unknown destination.
They also abducted the four victims who include Alhaji Sani, Sani Birki, Usman Yellow and Dahiru Sani and subsequently brutally slaughtered them in the bush.
A representative of the four families, Alhaji Suleiman Rabiu, while briefing journalists on the gruesome killing of the victims revealed that the inhuman act was allegedly perpetrated by the Fulani vigilante group under the leadership of Miyatte Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
Narrating his story, the over 70 year old father of one of the deceased, Suleiman Rabiu, said that when they reported the case to the Police at the Panda Police Division, the Police swung into action and rescued about 26 of the cows from one Alhaji Shukha (Ciroman Fulanin Gitata).
He further explained that some of the leaders of Miyatte Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria(MACBAN)and the sister organisation Miyatte Allah Katol Hore, a Fulani socio cultural group waded in and secured the release of the suspects.
According to him, it was at this instance that the suspects whose prime leader- Alhaji Shukha and his other gang members warn him not to ever raise the issue again.
He further revealed that the other members of the gang who include Alhaji Tapul, Aminu, Alhaji Rigga Ja’e Angaza, Usman Temo popularly known as Wakili Temo, Chairman Gidado threatened that if he dared raise the issue of the killings of the four victims again, they will ensure that they (families of the victims) are completely wipe out of existence.
He, however, alleged that the Police demanded some payment from the bereaved families so as to aid them in investigating the matter.
However, in an effort to ensure that justice is done, the bereaved families, through their lawyer- Barrister Haaruna Ilyas and Associate of Favor Chambers, Keffi, has written a petition to the DIG in charge of criminal investigation and intelligence department (FEIID) Abuja.
“We are solicitors to the families of Late Alhaji Sani, Sani Birki, Usman Yellow and Dahiru Sani, all of Kukuri village in Panda Development Area in Karu Local Government of Nasarawa State who shall be referred in the letter of complaint as our client and on whose instruction we write you this complaint.
“It is our clients’ brief that sometimes in August 2016 in the morning, the under listed accused persons- Alhaji Shukha, Alhaji Tapul, Aminu, Alhaji Rigga Ja’e Angaza, Usman Temo popularly known as Wakili Temo, Chairman Gidado, well armed with guns, machete and other dangerous weapons invaded the houses of the named deceased victims, forcefully bundled them to a thick forest without prior provocation, after which they also carted away their 300 cows and 100 sheep and rams respectively to an unknown destination and shared them among themselves,” the petition reads in part.
The petition further stated that upon informing the Police of the unlawful and unjustifiable cruelty of the accused persons to Panda Police division, the police arrested some of the accused and after a brief investigation, transferred the case to Keffi Area Command where after further investigation 26 cows were recovered in the possession of Alhaji Shukha (Ciroman Fulani Gitata) while other 11 cows were recovered from one Audu Timba a butcher who have allegedly slaughtered three.
It was at this point, the petition revealed, the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCIID), Lafia.
The solicitors also alleged that while in Lafia Command, no serious investigation was carried out as the accused persons are free on the pretence that some traditional rulers, politicians and other members of the Fulani association have intervene in the matter without seeking the consent of the deceased families; properties of the victims carted away by the accused were not returned to the families and that there was no provision of any kind to compensate for the lives of the deceased which were unlawfully wasted without justification by the accused persons.
The petition therefore maintained that what transpired at the SCIID Lafia in respect of the case was a complete deviation from a criminal justice system in place and an attempt to instigate a war in Kukuri area of Panda Development Area in Karu Local Government of Nasarawa State.
The petitioner therefore called on the IGP through the DIG to use the instrumentalities of his good office so as to revisit the case with the view to investigating it thoroughly and allow the culprit face the full wrath of the law.
However, when THE AUTHORITY contacted the Nasarawa State Chairman of the Miyatte Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Hussaini Mohammad, he denied the alleged involvement of his association and that as an individual, he knew nothing about the brutal killings of the four herdsmen.
According to him, the so-called vigilante group was only parading themselves as an unauthorized Fulani vigilante group and are not operating under the permission nor supervision of the Miyatte Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
According to him: “Were we as an Association got involved in the matter was based on the fact that as Fulani leaders if something happens to one of us, it is natural for us to wade in and find solution to it.
“So what we did was to ensure the rescue of the rustle cows and seek the support of all concerned Fulani members towards the welfare of the deceased children and wives left behind.”
Hussaini disclosed that after deliberation over the matter some members of his association, in demonstration of their solidarity and concern raised 1.5 million naira and gave to the deceased families, even though the earlier target was to raise 3 million naira for the families.
He, however, added that the fund raised was not a compensation as alleged, but a demonstration of concern and oneness.
According to him, investigation by his group indicated that the evil act was a joint operation between some of the Fulanis in Panda axis in collaboration with some other Fulanis in Kwoi, far away Southern Kaduna.
Responding to inquiries on the status of the case, the Force Sopkesman, Don Awunah, said: “Yes, the case has been transferred to the Force Headquarters for further investigation and our men are on it.
“Those found wanting at the end of the investigation will be arraigned in court.”