The Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdurrahman, has disowned both figures announced by Governor Nasir El-Rufai as casualties in Gidan Maro an Iri axis of Kajuru Local Government of Kaduna State.
Mr Abdurrahman said the police are still investigating and won’t quote or confirm any figure until their probe is concluded.
At first announcement on February 15, Mr El-Rufai said 66 people were killed by “criminal elements” in various dispersed hamlets in Kajuru Local Government. The army also confirmed the 66 deaths.
In another announcement after an extensive meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and service chiefs on February 19, the governor said the death toll had risen to 130.
Mr El-Rufai’s first and second claims were followed by criticisms by some people who raised doubts about the figures.
One of such criticisms came from the senator representing the district. “What I found out about the killing is that it happened between Sunday and Monday. The figures for the death are within the range of 10 to 15. The state government exaggerated the figures and also timed the announcement of it in view of the fact that that place is remote and beyond the reach of many journalists,” Shehu Sani said.
PREMIUM TIMES journalist visited the scene of the killings on Wednesday and on Thursday sought clarifications from the commissioner.
Mr Abdurrahman neither confirmed nor denied the governor’s figures but said the police had no hand in arriving at them.
“Right now, if the governor tells you even 200, he is just quoting figures. It may be more than that or less than that. For example, the areas you have visited where we were told that 36 bodies were buried, It was not under the purview of the security at the beginning of the investigation until when the Fulani victims themselves came out crying after we have secured all the places with our military counterpart. They now approach the military that come and escort us to come and bury our relations. That was when it was uncovered.”
The police chief said his men were still investigating the issue and would not identify with any figure until this is concluded.
“As I told the governor himself, I said figures in a crisis of this magnitude should be left until all investigations have been finished. All those areas we are getting information are covered. You cannot come up with a figure. You will come and say a figure and later you have to come and say it again. And this is what is happening As far as police is concerned we are investigating and investigation is still at embryonic stage. By the time we reach all areas…as I’m talking to you now, my men are still in the bush, plus SEMA and other CSOs.
“That’s why professionally, we don’t come out with figures until when we are sure and concluded our investigation. So, you see that there is no reason to say this one said this figure or that one said this figure,” he said.
Mr Abdurrahman said the troubled communities are now in a post-crisis period warning that ‘nobody should stampede investigation.’