Nigeria: Zamfara Guards Arrested As Murder of Chief Imam Sparks Controversy

Yusha’u A. Ibrahim — The murder of the Chief Imam of a Juma’at mosque in Mada town, Gusau local government of Zamfara state, Imam Abubakar Hassan Mada, has sparked controversy.

A source close to the family of the late chief Imam who preferred anonymity, said the deceased was arrested on Sunday by five personnel of the CPG that came to the village on motorbikes.

The source added that the personnel ordered the Imam to climb one of the motorbikes, drove a few meters away from Mada town and then killed him.

“Imam was sitting in front of his house after the 4pm prayers when the five personnel of the CPG arrived at the town. They arrested him and took him out of the town and killed him.”

“When they arrested him, the residents had thought it was a normal arrest for investigation but only to find his lifeless body dumped outside the town.

“The chief Imam was slaughtered like a ram by his killers. This is a terrible and unfortunate incident we have never witnessed in this town. How could on earth a man, in fact, a chief Imam, be murdered this way?

“The deceased is a quiet and simple leader in this community. We have never known him of any bad character that will warrant his murder. We have not for once heard about him being associated with either bandits or political thugs. I was personally shocked when I heard that Imam Abubakar was murdered.”

Another resident, Muhammad Yunus, described the murder of the chief Imam as political, noting that “I suspect that his murder might not be unconnected with his intervention in a case that involved two residents of the community.

“Last year, the deceased, village head and chief Imam of first Juma’at mosque secured the release of two young men who were arrested by the vigilante group over alleged involvement in banditry.

“I believe that was the beginning of the problem because at that time some members of the vigilante group expressed their dissatisfaction with the development. So, what we heard is that after the commission of the CPG, the deceased was listed among the informants that are giving information to bandits and that was why the man was killed in this way,” he lamented.

When contacted, the state commander of the Community Protection Guards, Col. Rabi’u Yandoto, confirmed the incident, saying two CPG personnel had been arrested in connection with the incident.

Col. Yandoto explained that the CPG headquarters knew nothing about the arrest of the chief Imam, adding that “traditionally, we have to give orders for any arrest. So, anything contrary to this is illegal and we will investigate it”.

“Honestly, we have not given any order to our personnel to arrest the chief Imam. In fact, the man was not on our wanted list. So, I wonder how he was arrested and killed.

“Wallahi, I could not sleep yesterday when I heard about the unfortunate incident. It was a very sad incident and we will not allow the matter to be carpeted. We have arrested those that are being accused and we are going to interrogate them before handing them over to the DSS for further investigation. I will not protect anybody accused of murdering innocent people.

“Once we have established our facts, we will hand over those that have hand in the murder to police for prosecution. We had a similar incident in Zurmi town where some bandits in CPG uniforms attacked a village.

“So, as I am speaking with you now, the two CPG personnel accused of the murder of the chief Imam are under our custody; they were brought from Mada and we will interrogate them based on the allegation leveled against them.”

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