The Fulani men were alleged to have asked the man to hand over his handset while he was returning from his farmland a few kilometres away from Bama town, but he refused. Consequent upon that, they allegedly hit him with a sharp axe and he died instantly. As fate would have it, some villagers that rushed to the scene overpowered the suspects and handed them over to the Police on Wednesday night, and before dawn, news of the sad incident had filtered into Bama town.
While the suspects were in Police custody, some youths believed to be friends and relations of the deceased, thronged into the station early on Thursday and demanded that the two suspects be released to them. The Police insisted that they were investigating the matter and would charge the two men to court. But the youths that spoke to our correspondent in Bama said, “We have had enough of such snatching of handsets and fighting by the Fulani and they always get away with it. That was why we wanted to kill them,” said one of the suspected arsonists who’s still at large in Bama.
Two persons lost their lives during the mob action, including a victim of the robbery attack. About five policemen, including one SSS officer, received serious injuries while many among the mob could not come forward with their injuries for fear of arrest. However, according to the Area Commander, Abdullahi Ibrahim, “over 20 suspects have since been arrested and are undergoing investigation.”
According to the Area Commander during a fact-finding trip by the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Mr Christopher Dega, who was accompanied by the Director of SSS, the Police in the area have excellent public relations with the people of Bama, saying that the only functional borehole in the area where the police station is situated was provided by the division, amongst other things. “This morning, women and children went out to fetch water barely 24 hours after their relations had destroyed the building that houses their only source of water,” said a resident.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Dega, said in front of Shehu Kyari Ibn El-Kanemi of Bama’s palace, “I am dumbfounded. I cannot say much, but the situation is very bad. The action by my own assessment is condemnable. I want to tell all of us that we must get the culprits, so that they can be sanctioned, because if it is taken as alright, they may contemplate damage in future,” he said.
The Shehu in his response commended the Police and other law enforcement agents for not retaliating despite the kind of threat they witnessed on that fateful day. The Shehu said, “It is our responsibility to investigate and take appropriate actions.” However, he was made to understand that he would not be heeded if he requests the Police to offer security on a special Friday prayer for rainfall.
“Presently, the Police in Bama are scattered around. They don’t have a station where we can assemble and give them instructions or marshal them. This is the kind of consequence your people have to bear for their actions,” said the Commissioner. The Shehu immediately cancelled the special prayer that was to have been offered in Bama until further notice and thereafter ordered for it only in other areas LGs since their security in Bama cannot be guaranteed in the interim by the beleaguered Police in the area.
The Police said so far, it has made over 20 arrests and intend to carry out more as the town of Bama remains quiet with almost everyone staying indoors. Schools, offices, shops and banks remained closed as at Friday. When the Shehu pleaded that Bama market be opened, the Area Commander said, “Nobody closed the market. It was at the station during the arson; it is guilty conscience that made them not to open today. We have information that many of them have gone to Maiduguri.”