To effectively contain the increasing killings in many parts of the country, the police and other sister agencies must follow through the arrest and prosecution of suspects in the recent killings in Zamfara and Benue States, writes Olawale Olaleye
On February 14, when people around the world were celebrating love being Valentineâ€™s Day, people in the Northern state of Zamfara were being murdered in cold blood while relatives of the deceased, mourned.
Although the police said 18 people were killed in the attacks, which was later linked to armed bandits in Birani, a village in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state, the state government said not less than 39 people were killed in all. At the same time, some media reports insinuated more than that number as casualties.
Recall the New Year killings of 73 people in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State, which has since pitted the state and central government against each other? The mass burial granted the victims, coupled with the alleged politcisation of the attacks by both the central and state had further heightened tension and the dust raised by that development has yet to abate.
These two are aside other killings in states like Nasarawa, Taraba and Borno as being daily reported. But the good news in all of these is that the security agencies were recently reported to have recorded some progress with some significant arrests already made in connection with some of the killings.
For instance, the police, on Sunday said they had arrested three principal suspects in connection with the Zamfara killing. The Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, gave the names of the suspects as Halilu Garba, 45 (aka Mabushi); Zubairu Marafa, 45 (aka Wakili); and Nafiu Badamasi, 40 (aka Zakiru).
In another breath, the police also said they had arrested the mastermind of the Fulani herdsmen believed to be responsible for the recent attacks in Benue State.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, DIG Joshak Habillah, made this disclosure, when he said the mastermind was arrested after deploying the most advanced technology and trailing him for more than three weeks.
The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Alhaji Laggi, was arrested by operatives at the Tunga Forest in Nasarawa State. And aside Laggi, the police said four other principal suspects were arrested between February 16 to 19, also in Tunga town, Nasarawa State, in possession of AK47 rifles and other prohibited arms.
The four suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of Sergeant Solomon Dung, other police officers and many innocent citizens in Benue State. While Laggi was fingered as the mastermind, the other four were identified as Mallam Mumini Abdullahi, 34, Muhammed Adamu, 30 and Ibrahim Sule, 32.
The suspects, during preliminary interrogations, reportedly confessed to the killings and mentioned their fleeing gang members, who are in possession of the police rifles they took from the cops they murdered.
These are no doubt positive developments in view of the â€˜killing sportsâ€™ going on in practically all states of the federation, particularly in the north. The development is also an indication that the Nigeria police can be effective if the task at hand is taken seriously.
It is therefore the reason that the police must shovel through the current investigations, conclusively wrap them up and make the arrested some worthy examples in deterring criminals from turning the country into another jungle.
The pace of killing has become worrisome and unless the police take seriously, the prosecutions of these ones already in their net and by the same stroke, secure justice for their late colleagues, who had been brutally murdered by these mindless scums of the society, they might be deemed complicit too.
What is currently going on in most parts of the country is disturbing especially that the tide is daily increasing, unfortunately, in a year preceding the 2019 general election. The police and other sister agencies must as a matter of fact try as much as possible to link the dots and be proactive in their approach to stemming the trend, because the nation cannot afford to approach a major election with the level of killings going on across the country.
Whilst some of the current efforts of the various security outfits to containing the emergent threat are commendable and worthy of note, this feat can only make a meaningful impact when examples or scapegoats are made of the present arrests made. That way, the road to societal sanity may not be farther any longer.