By Solomon Ayado
Barely three days after a man suspected to be a kingpin of the dreaded Islamic sect Boko Haram was arrested in Makurdi, Benue State, the state government and state police command are still trying to explain how he got away.
Tension heightened in the state following the announcement of the alleged terrorist’s arrest on Radio Benue. Shortly after the supposed arrest, the state government claimed that the man was whisked away by policemen to an unknown destination. However, the police countered the claim.
According to a statement released by Special Adviser to the Benue State governor, Cletus Akwaya, on Thursday, “a very important member of the sect was arrested by men of the police in Kanshio, a suburb of Makurdi town”. Shortly after the press release, the announcement was made on the radio station.
The statement revealed that the alleged terrorist, a Fulani from Taraba State, was arrested following a tip-off, and was found to be in possession of six blank cheques and copies of maps of some parts of Makurdi, the state capital.
“The detailed descriptions of the places were contained in an exercise book. A police source disclosed that the maps showed some possible targets for attacks. The suspect was whisked away to an unknown location where he is being questioned by security operatives,” a portion of the statement read.
In a turn of events, however, the spokesman of the Benue State Police Command, DSP Daniel Ezeala, denied the arrest yesterday. He insisted that the police only arrested a Chadian who had long been handed over to the men of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
“The man we arrested is a Chadian and if we find him to have breached the law in any way or suspect him of any wrong-doing, we shall charge him to court. But we have handed him over to the immigration service,” Ezeala said.
Eaeala could, however, not confirm if the said suspect had the items listed in the statement in his position as made public by Akwaya’s statement. “There is nothing like that, investigation into the matter is on-going,” he said.