The police on Sunday said they had arrested three principal suspects in connection with the killing of over 20 persons in Birane village in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State last week.
The Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, gave their names as Halilu Garba, 45 (aka Mabushi); Zubairu Marafa, 45 (aka Wakili); and Nafiu Badamasi, 40 aka Zakiru.
He stated that further investigation into the crime is ongoing.
IG deploys more riot police units in Zamfara
Earlier, Moshood said the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had deployed additional three units of Police Mobile Force in Birane village.
He added that a joint investigation team headed by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of intelligence at the Force Headquarters, had equally been sent to the state.
The police had earlier sent seven units of riot policemen, following the killings, to parts of the state.
Moshood said Idris gave the directive for the deployment after visiting the state, adding that the IG, who was accompanied to Zamfara by the AIG Zone 10, Sokoto, and Commissioners of Police in the zone, also held a stakeholders’ meeting with the people.
He said, “On the directives of the IG, the Joint Special Investigation Team headed by AIG Intelligence have proceeded to Zamfara State to commence a detailed investigation into the killings.
“He will be assisted by the personnel of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, the Intelligence Response Team, Special Tactical Squad, Counter-Terrorism Unit, scene of crime experts and the Zamfara State Command Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, who are already on the ground in Zurmi, Zamfara State.”
The spokesman added that the police boss gave the team “a definite and strict mandate to arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of the killings and investigate the remote and direct causes of the mayhem.”
“They are further directed by the IG to arrest and disarm all suspected bandits, militias and criminal groups in possession of prohibited firearms and restricted weapons in the region,” he stated.
Moshood claimed that normalcy had been restored in the area and assured the people of Zamfara and other states in the country of adequate protection of lives and property.
Punish suspected killers in Zamfara, Benue NHRC tells FG
The National Human Rights Commission on Sunday urged the Federal Government “to carry out a massive scrutiny of the nation’s security architecture.”
A statement by the commission quoted its Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, as demanding that this be done to “ensure that culprits in the incessant killings taking place across the country are urgently brought to book.”
Ojukwu was said to have made the call in response to “the recent upsurge in killings across the country, especially in Borno, Zamfara and Benue states.”
He said the commission had directed its personnel in its office in Katsina State to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the humanitarian situation in Zamfara State.
The statement read in part, “Specifically, Mr. Ojukwu stated that the reported killing of about 40 people in one episode in Zamfara State this week by unknown gunmen is not acceptable even as he disclosed that officials of the commission’s state office in Katsina have been directed to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground.”
Ojukwu reiterated the urgent need for security agencies “to be on top of the situation to forestall further destruction of lives and property, as well as strengthen people’s confidence in the ability of government to protect them.”
The statement added, “He (Ojukwu) expressed deep concern over the recurrent killing of women and children in various communities across the nation, saying such an ugly scenario underscores the need to prevail on the various security agencies to explore new intelligence and investigation techniques that will effectively contain occurrences of such dastardly act.”
‘Probe AGs who didn’t prosecute murder suspects’
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has written to the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), requesting that the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of various states who have refused to prosecute suspects arrested for various killings in their domains be investigated.
He noted in his letter dated February 16, 2018, that it was disturbing that the NBA had found it necessary to conduct an inquiry into “the reckless killings of unarmed people in Benue State,” but “failed to monitor the prosecution of the scores of murder suspects” arrested by the police or indicted in connection with “the violent civil disturbances in the country.”
He said since culpable homicide or murder was a state offence, state Attorneys-General were bound to prosecute persons suspected of it.
He, however, stated that the said Attorneys General refused to prosecute the suspects and even terminated some criminal proceedings against some of them due to political pressure.
“We have confirmed that the rate of killings in the country has been on the ascendancy due to the refusal of several state Attorneys-General to prosecute murder suspects due to political pressure or sheer negligence of duty,” he stated in his letter to the NBA president.
In the letter titled, ‘Request to investigate Attorneys-General who refuse to prosecute murder suspects, Falana said the state Attorneys General, by failing to prosecute the suspects, had violated their oath office.
He cited nine instances of how past and present Attorneys General had, at various times, abandoned their responsibilities of prosecuting murder suspects in some states including Gombe, Ekiti, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue and Rivers.
“It may interest you to know that some Attorneys General have a penchant for terminating murder charges by filing nolle prosequi.
“In order to put an end to the culture of impunity in the country we are compelled to request the Nigerian Bar Association to investigate the refusal of the Attorneys General to prosecute the criminal elements who have engaged in the reckless killing of innocent citizens in several states of the federation.
“Unless the Nigerian Bar Association is prepared to sanction Attorneys-General who fail or refuse to prosecute murder suspects, the reckless killing of the Nigerian people by killer squads and armed bandits will continue unabated.”
According to Falana, not less than “100 suspects murder suspects have been arrested by the police in connection with the ongoing pogrom in Benue State,” but “the suspects may soon be released from custody as they have not been charged with culpable homicide in the appropriate courts by the state government.”