Controversy is brewing in Taraba State over the claim of the Nigerian Army that one Mr. Bwesse H. Tanimu a.k.a skin, arrested by its troops is a notorious criminal.
While announcing the arrest of the suspect, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, spokesperson for the Nigerian Army said, “Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect with other members of his gang still at large are said to be responsible for various criminal activities within Takum and its environ.”
However, residents of the area condemned the criminal tag put on the suspect by the Army. Some of those who spoke to Sahara Reporters said it is unprofessional for the Nigeria Army to tag law-abiding citizens as criminal while Fulanis herdsmen that have been terrorizing the people are walking free.
They also alleged that the Army has been busy arresting members of vigilance groups put in place by the state government to secure the people in face of the failure of security operatives to live up to expectations.
Indeed, the Taraba State Governor, Dairus Ishaku, had yesterday in Abuja raised the alarm over what he described as rising military brutality and molestation against the people of the state.
The governor said the military has taken over the job of the police and is bombarding people’s houses and arresting youths and locking them up.
According to him, the military has engaged in rampant arrests of youths and transferring them to Abuja without regard to his office as the chief executive and chief security officer of the state.
Ishaku further alleged that the military is not protecting the people against the killer herdsmen but now going around arresting the youths in the town.
The governor also said though the military has withdrawn from the southern part of Taraba State, they are still being harassed by the herdsmen militia.
“The military has taken over the job of the police and bombarding people’s houses at 2 a.m., arresting youths and locking them up. Two of these youths were missing and we understand that they are with the military and being transferred to the Abuja military headquarters.
“I asked for the reason. Nobody has confronted me with the reason. All I was told was that they committed crime. Which crime nobody has told me about as the chief executive and chief security officer of the state,” he said.
“Nobody has reported this to me. The police are not aware of this. The military has written to the Takum Local Government Area Chairman for him to report to them immediately to be arrested.
“I don’t know what is happening. The armed forces are not protecting the people against the killer herdsmen but now going around arresting the youths in the town.
“This is what led to the demonstration of the women last week. Now the situation is getting really bad.”