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Boko Haram, Jos, Post-Election Violence Suspects disappear in police custody

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Hafiz Ringim
There are strong indications that most of the suspects arrested in connection with Boko Haram sects in Maiduguri, Minna, Bauchi States and Jos ethno-religious crisis as well as the recent post-election violence which erupted in some parts of Northern Nigeria during the just concluded elections may have regained freedom or disappeared in their various Police custodies across the states.

Similarly, a Police officer Ibrahim Mohammed serving at the Mobile Police Unit at the Force Headquarters in Abuja that was arrested while participating in killings in Jos during one of the crisis may have also been released, demobilize from Mobile unit and transferred to one of the interior part of the country.

According to inside Police sources who pleaded anonymity over 92 suspects arrested in Maiduguri, Borno State Capital following the mindless killing and destruction of lives and properties by Boko Haram sects in March this year, less than 10 of them are now left in Police custody.

It was gathered that the Nigeria Police leadership in collaboration with some fanatical judges are granting suspects bail or total freedom on grounds of lack of evidences. further gathered that in March this year, the situation became worrisome that the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Maiduguri branch protested the released of some suspects who were released. The NBA had vowed to challenge the release of the suspects in court.

Suspects in other places like Minna, Bauchi, Gombe where the Boko Haram sect's members were arrested according to findings, were said to have either disappeared or have been granted bail.

Over 200 suspects during the Jos ethno crisis were initially said to have been moved from Jos to Abuja last year but only about 162 were Okayed for trial according the source but that up till now none of the suspected have been convicted while majority of them are said to have either disappeared or granted bail or released for lack of sufficient evidences.

In the same vein sources informed that about 90 suspects who were arrested  this year, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen  and made to face trial have disappeared.

According to a source who would not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, he said “I served in the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja. We handled all these cases. I sometimes feel disappointed by what our bosses do. Cases like these; we don't do what is supposed to be done.”

The source said, “most of these people arrested, once they charge them to court, it is finished. The court will say take them for remand in police custody and that will be the end.”

On the recent violence that erupted immediately after the Presidential elections where many lives and properties were destroyed in some parts of Northern Nigeria, the source stated that about 109 suspects arrested in Kano, 600 in Adamawa and several others in Katsina, Minna, Kaduna amongst others, have all disappeared.

He said most of the suspects were screened and released following “directives from above”.  The source said the suspects were released in batches and in some cases, moved under the guise of taking them to another cell in another station or taking them to court. “They come back and say they have been sent to prison custody or granted bail, the source said.

According to the source, “have Nigerians one day asked how many of the suspects are in prison? Nobody cares that's why I say we should not blame only the judiciary. The Police have not been held accountable for the cases and criminals in their custody. I am an insider and I know what goes on.”

“They arrest criminals most times through information made available to them through the citizens but they don't follow up after arrest and that is why the criminals keep proliferating. The police know all the judges in court. The Police charges criminals to courts of their choice that is depending the type of judgments they want. Your boss tells you which court to go and before you arrive, he is aware so there is nothing we want”, the source told