The police and the Nigerian Army have contradicted their claims on the whereabouts of 56 Fulani herdsmen, who were arrested with arms at a military checkpoint, along the Airport Road, Abuja, last week.
Troops arrested 36 armed Fulani herdsmen at a checkpoint in Keffi, Nasarawa State, while another 56 herdsmen were also caught with arms along the Airport Road, Abuja, by the military.
The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations of the Guards Brigade, Capt. Bashir Jajira, had, in a statement on April 18, said the 36 suspects arrested in Keffi had been handed over to the Nasarawa State Police Command.
Jajira added that the other 56 suspects were handed over to the Kuje Divisional Police Station.
He stated that the troops recovered “one pump action gun, 19 cartridge, dane guns, 118 cartridge ammo, 28 cutlasses, three jack knives, 14 sticks, seven torches, Certificate of Occupancy, assorted charms and hard drugs.”
On Sunday, Jajira insisted in an interview that the herdsmen were handed over to the Police Division in Kuje, Abuja, and the Police Area Command, Keffi, on April 18, 2016.
The Nasarawa State Police Public Relations Officer, Ismaila Numan, confirmed on Monday that 36 suspects were handed over to the command, pointing out that they had been charged to court for illegal possession of firearms and criminal conspiracy.
But the Federal Capital Territory Police Command said it had not received the second set of 56 suspects which the Army claimed to have handed over to the Kuje Divisional Police Station.
A source at the FCT Police Command said the information from the DPO, Kuje, indicated that “no herdsmen were handed over to the police, as claimed by the Army.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Bisi Kolawole, also claimed that the command had not received the suspects.
“I have made inquiries at the FCT Police Command and what I learnt was that they had yet to receive the suspects,” she explained.
A security analyst, Ben Okezie, wondered why the Army had yet to hand over the suspects for investigation and prosecution one week after the armed men were apprehended, noting that the police would not deny if the suspects were in their custody.