By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Police Command has declared some youths wanted over religious crises in the state, they stated have claimed many lives as well as several property destroyed.
In a Special Police Gazette Bulletin issued under the authority of the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, with reference number CR 07/2015, the state Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police, Mr. Audu Kukah, decried the insistent religious crisis in some part of the country.
Kukah alleged that one Gift Nelson and his brother, Progress Nelson, were the leaders of the youths who allegedly engaged some Muslim youths in the area in the carnage where so many people lost their lives and the wanton destruction of property worth several millions of naira in the Suleja area of the state.
The declaration as a wanted man followed a warrant of arrest duly obtained from a Niger State Magistrate Court in Suleja.
In the bulletin issued by the police command, the above-named person (Mr. Gift Nelson, 20, ‘M’, a native of Agbor in Delta State), his brother, Progress, and four other boys are hereby declared wanted by the Nigeria Police Force on CRO Form “5” issued by the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Intelligence and Intelligence Department, Minna.
It noted that the youths in the area allegedly fought and killed many cows belonging to some Fulani herders in the crisis that lasted for many days.
However, when journalists made further inquiry into the persistent crisis in the area, a source who pleaded for anonymity in the area told reporters that the crisis has lingered for so long, and the authorities have done little or nothing about it.
The source noted that because Suleja is a Muslim dominated area, the fanatics were always compelling the non-Muslims to convert as well as bullying them.
According to him, “Even as I am not a Muslim, in several occasions, we (non-Muslims) have been threatened by the Muslim fanatics to choose Islam or death; they would come into our house armed with knives and other weapons threatening us. This form of intimidation has always been experienced by other Christians in the Northern part of the country, and has been brewing tension without the government doing anything about it.”
The source told THISDAY that those engaged in the conflict with Fulani herdsmen did so as a result of continuous provocation by the herders, whose cattle were grazing in their farms and destroying all their crops, which is the main source of livelihood for the people in the agrarian community, adding that: “During the conflict, many of their cows were killed as well as some herdsmen, and as a result of that, some Fulani herdsmen revenged at night, burning down many houses in the village, including the houses of Nelson and his friends”
He told journalists that Nelson lost his mother and their property in the incident, before the police came in to calm the situation down.
Meanwhile, Kukah added that after investigation, the culprits, Gift, and his friends were identified, and some arrests were been made, but that many of them are at large now, promising that those culprits declared wanted by the police authorities would be apprehended and charged to court to face justice.
“He is 5ft tall, dark in complexion, skinny with no tribal marks, speaks English and Ibo. He is Delta Ibo by tribe; 20 years of age, and lives in Club area of Suleja in Niger State. He has good set of teeth, brown eyes, round face, medium size head, and always dresses neat. “If seen, he should be arrested and handed over to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Minna or any nearest Police Station,” Kukah declared.