Alleged Killing of 11 Youths in Fulani Community by Soldiers: Group Call on FG to Investigate
By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
A group made up of Academia and Activists in Northern Nigeria has called on President Bola Tinubu, Senate President, Godwin Akpabio, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor of Kaduna State, the Northern Governors Forum and the Security Agencies to investigate an allegation of arbitrary killing of 11 Youths in a Fulani community in Kaduna State by soldiers.
In a Statement jointly signed by Dr. Abubakar Siddique and Murtala Abubakar, the group said their “appeal for intervention and remediation is informed by the disturbing details of what appears to be deliberate and unprovoked actions by some elements of the Nigerian military in the arbitrary killings of citizens from the affected rural communities as revealed by the findings of the preliminary investigations carried out by the Kaduna State chapter of MACBAN.
“The report of the investigation, which is contained in a press statement by the Association provides disturbing details of how the extra-judicial killings and looting of households by soldiers were carried out in the Tilde Fulbe community in Ladugga.
“Some of the findings based on newspaper reports and on the spot investigation by MACBAN are presented below:
In its Thursday 11th January 2024 edition, Daily Trust reported the discovery of eleven dead bodies of Fulani youths of the Tilde Fulbe community alleged to have been murdered in cold blood by elements of the Nigerian military, from the Nigerian School of Artillery (NASA) and the Nigerian Navy Armament Technology School at the Ladugga grazing reserve. The names of the eleven victims were given by Daily Trust as: Safiyanu Adamu, Abdulkadir Idris, Akilu Abdullahi, Ibrahim Abubakar, Magaji Umar, Saidu Saleh, Abdulaziz Yusuf and Nura Magaji.”
The group appealed that while investigating is ongoing to unravel the how it all happened, compensation should be paid to the families of the victims of the crimes with a view to ameliorating the hardship and trauma inflicted on them as a result of the cold blooded murder of their loved ones.
They also suggested that the posting of military and other security personnel should take cognizance of the need for fair representation and balance to reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the communities in the area in order to avoid any form of suspicion from either parties.
“In the light of the gravity of the above, we are of the firm belief that it is the responsibility of the Nigerian state to protect and guarantee security to all its citizens as clearly spelt out in Sec 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution in these terms: “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“This is the basis of the social contract by which we, as citizens of Nigeria, surrendered some of our freedoms in addition to submitting ourselves to the authority relating to governance. We do these in order for us to enjoy the full protection of our remaining rights, including, to wit, our rights to life; dignity of human persons; personal liberty; fair hearing; private and family life; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of expression; peaceful assembly and association; freedom of movement; and freedom from discrimination, enshrined in sections 33 to 43 of our Constitution.”
“It should be emphasized that the aforementioned rights are fundamental to the social contract between government and the citizens and failure to guarantee them by government, not only violates the ‘social contract’ but also threatens the security of the nation.
“It goes without saying, therefore, that a stitch in time saves nine, especially considering the fact that the police and the military are important national institutions given the critical role assigned to them by the Constitution in the maintenance of law and order in particular and national security in general.
“It is, therefore, paradoxical that in this very particular situation, it is some elements of the military institution that are accused of these grave infractions. It is imperative to remind ourselves, in case we have forgotten, that the current insecurity bedeviling the nation is partly the result of similar acts of impunity in the past by the law enforcement agencies in particular and the governments in general, as evidenced by the genesis of the Boko Haram insurgency and the persisting menace of bandits and kidnappers that beset our dear nation.” The statement added.
Further details in the statement reads in part:
The alleged gruesome murder of these young men came barely one month after the killing of 80 people who were celebrating the Eid el Maulud at Tudun Biri village of Igabi local government area of Kaduna state, through aerial bombardment by the Nigerian army. The military authorities later claimed the incident was ‘an accident’. Furthermore, the murder of the eleven Fulani youths came in spite of the caution and calls for restraints by eminent Nigerians after the Tudun Biri tragedy.
The two unfortunate incidents cited above, which were separated by a short interval of time, continue to draw a groundswell of public anger as well as cast aspersions on the image of the Nigerian military, exposing it as a biased institution of questionable integrity. Consequently, many eminent Nigerians, organizations and institutions have reacted to the two incidents and called on the Federal Government to take appropriate measures to remedy the situation in order to prevent future occurrence. The renowned Tijanniya scholar , Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, for example, condemned the killing of civilians in the Tudun Biri community stating that it was unacceptable and called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ensure that the tragic event was investigated and those found responsible prosecuted. Similarly, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who is himself a retired military officer, was reported by Daily Trust to have condemned the killings, describing them as a deliberate act and not a mistake as claimed by the military authorities. Other prominent Nigerians who condemned the dastardly act and called for thorough investigation included the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), the National Chairman, Council of Ulamas, Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’a wa’iqamatus Sunnah, the National Publicity Secretary Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), former Vice President and presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi and Emirs Muhammad Sanusi II and Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamali.
In its reaction to the 11th January killings, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) also issued a press statement condemning, in strongest terms, what it describes as extra judicial killings and looting in the Tilde Fulbe community. After conducting extensive investigation into the grisly incident, MACBAN disclosed its findings as follows:
a) Some time in December 2023 some elements of the Nigerian Army seized one Safiyanu Adamu, a 22 year old, who was ill and was being taken to the hospital by his father, Mallam Adamu Idris and other relations. After spending six (6) days in the custody of the Nigerian Army, his corpse was found in the bush. Thereafter, Mallam Adamu Idris, the father of the deceased lodged a complaint at the police station in Kachia. After preliminary investigation, which included taking written statements from the complainants, and snapshots of the corpse of the victim, the police directed that the body be buried, which was done according to Islamic rites. The press release also stated that soldiers went back to the same Tilde Fulbe village on 30th December, 2023 at about 10 am and perpetrated the following atrocities:
- They shot and killed one Nura Yusuf at close range at Crossing Katul Market in full glare of the public and hurled his corpse along with his motorcycle into a military van and drove away. The dead body of Nura was later found around Oduma village, where it was dumped. That was two (2) days after the soldiers demanded for the sum of four hundred thousand Naira (N400,000.00) from the brother of the deceased. The soldiers claimed that the money was to be used for the treatment of the victim. However, they did not respond when the brother demanded to hear the voice of Nura before giving them the money.
- According to the press statement, the soldiers who MACBAN describes as “trigger hungry” arrested four (4) more young men from the same village and later shot and killed all of them in cold blood and dumped their bodies in the bush around Antai village in Kachia LGA, along the road leading from Crossing to Maro of Kajuru LGA. The decomposing bodies of the youths were recovered and buried by members of MACBAN, assisted by the Nigerian Police on Monday, 8th January, 2024 together one other person who was also arrested and killed in the same manner, raising the number of the victims of the gruesome murder to five, namely, Magaji Umar a.ka. Nouru, Akilu Abdullahi, Musa Abubakar, Ibrahim Sani and Abdulazeez Yusuf a.k.a Azeez.
Such was the extreme callousness of the soldiers that they used the phone of one of the victims to call his family and demanded for the sum of three hundred thousand Naira (N300,000.00) ostensibly for his release, which however never materialized. The account details given by the soldier are as follows:
Account Name: Halidu Altine
Name of Bank: First Bank PLC
Account Number: 3124149608
- In continuation of their atrocities, the soldiers also broke into two (2) houses in the community and stole fifty thousand Naira (N50,000.00) along with bags of ginger worth several thousands of naira. Furthermore, on the 7th of January, 2024, corpses of two other persons – Dan Asabe Abom and Abdulkadir Idris Parma – who were earlier arrested by the same operatives of the Nigerian Army were recovered along Anguwan Makama Road, Kachia LGA.
- Five days earlier, on Tuesday, the 2nd day of January, 2024, at about 1.00 am, the operatives of the Nigerian Army returned to the same community and again broke into four (4) houses and carted away two (2) motorcycles and ginger worth several thousands of Naira having thoroughly harassed their owners. These atrocities were by no means isolated but rather a continuation of a trend. This is because another horrific incident occurred on 21st December, 2023, when two young men of about 15 years, returning from Maulud Al-Nabiyyi celebration held at Crossing Katul were shot and killed at close range yet again by elements of the Nigerian Army. The dead bodies of these murdered teenagers were released to their families for burial only after the intervention of the police.
According to MACBAN, the “frequent intrusion of the operatives of the Nigerian Army into the Tilde Fulbe community is causing anxiety among the entire members of the community. They now live in perpetual fear and no longer sleep in their houses as they are uncertain about which compound the blood-thirsty soldiers would burgle next and or who they would kill to quench their reckless thirst for innocent blood.”