A policeman arrested for allegedly killing six farmers in Adamawa State has said that the people he killed are suspected members of the terror group, Boko Haram.
Adamawa is one of the three states most ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency. The others being Borno and Yobe.
Usman Hassan, an assistant superintendent of police, was arrested for alleged killing the six farmers during an operation in Gombi Local Government Area. He has now, however, said he has evidence to prove his claims that the dead victims were Boko Haram members.
Mr. Hassan said in a petition to Inspector General of Police said that the six died in a shoot out with his team which included local hunters. He said the operation was on the directive of the then Adamawa State Commissioner of Police, Moses Jitoboh.
The petition, dated December 19, 2017 to the police chief, is titled “Petition Against The Adamawa State Commissioner of Police Moses Jitoboh, and AC CID, Adamawa Command For Illegal Detention, Criminal Conspiracy, Violation of Rights and Gross abuse of Power.”
The petition was signed by counsel to Mr. Hassan, Femi Motojesi, and a stamped photocopy made available to journalists in Yola.
Mr. Hassan, who was then the Commander of Safer High Way in Adamawa, said he was contacted by Mr. Jitoboh through the then commissioner’s personal assistant to organise a raid on areas harbouring Boko Haram suspects.
“Sometimes in November 2017 due to the incessant killings and destruction of properties by the dreaded Boko Haram in Adamawa state, the Commissioner of Police in receipt of some intelligence reports from various sister agencies decided to swing into action.
“That our client as a result of his track record and gallantry was invited by the Commissioner of Police, Moses Jitoboh, through his personal assistant that our client competence and experience will be needed to lead a special operation in some local government areas where the security report suggests members of the group are hibernating.
“That upon being briefed, our client suggested to the commissioner of police that such operation are the types the Army have been given the mandate to handle but the commissioner insisted that he wants the police to execute the operation.”
The lawyer noted that after series of meetings on the operation with the commissioner, Mr. Hassan got the approval of the commissioner to invite hunters to join the operation and to this end the chairman of hunters in the North-east, Mohammed Usman, was invited and had a closed door meeting with the commissioner in the presence of Mr. Hassan.
“That on the 22nd of November, 2017, our client (Hassan) and his team members went for the operations and due to resistance of the suspects, there was an exchange of gun fire.
“That on their return, our client as usual through the personal assistant informed the CP of their experience and gave him a report.
“That it was upon receipt of the report that the personal assistant made volte face and started singing a different song.
“To our client’s utter amazement, the AC CID, Yola began a massive arrest of members of the hunters association the CP had engaged for the operation and the policemen detailed in the operation were also arrested and detained.”
The petition also alleged that all Boko Haram suspects and drug dealers earlier arrested by Mr. Hassan and transferred to the command CID have been released without prosecution.
“We are not unaware that there exists some internal mechanism within the police force in dealing with any erring officer, but this particular case is a case of pure conspiracy and an attempt to ridicule the fight against Boko Haram.
“More worrisome is the fact that this singular act if not discouraged may dampen the spirit of the officers and men of the force in combating the dreaded Boko haram.
“The feelers we are getting (though not confirmed) is that the Boko Haram guys have paid the AC CID about N2 million in order to be protected and shielded from any form of police invasion/arrest.”
The lawyer attached copies of search warrant and signal for the operation to the petition. He urged the Inspector General of Police to take over the matter and investigate the incident saying the Adamawa command cannot do justice to the case.
Mr. Jitoboh could not be reached for comment as he has been redeployed from Adamawa.
When contacted, the newly posted Commissioner of Police who took over from Mr. Jitobh, Abdullahi Yerima, simply said Mr. Hassan is under arrest and the case was being investigated for prosecution.