The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria on Sunday said the arbitrary arrest and persecution of its members by the police and the Takum Council Chairman, Shiban Tikari, was inimical to peace.
The North-East Zonal Chairman of the association, Alhaji Mafindi Danburam, stated this at a press conference in Jalingo.
According to him, some Miyetti Allah members had on March 14, went to the Bantaje Cattle Market to sell their cows and while on their way back, 52 of them were arrested by the police under the alleged instructions of Tikari and were later transferred to the state police command in Jalingo.
“We have visited the command and demanded for reasons for their arrest, charges against them and the complainant statement which have not been made available to us,” he said.
The zonal chairman called on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to intervene in the matter.
“We are really in the hands of elements of destruction who believe that a Fulani man has no right to live and enjoy his right as a citizen in Taraba State.
“Takum is now a no-go area for us. Our people are being killed, their animals maimed but nobody has been arrested for these crimes,” he said.
But when contacted, the Taraba State Commissioner of Police, Mr. David Akinremi, said 54 persons were arrested following information the police received that there was a mass movement of people suspected to be the perpetrators of some violent attacks at Bawe, Panshen, Muji 1 and Muji 2 villages in the Takum Local Government Area.
He explained that his men acting on intelligence intercepted four vehicles loaded with herdsmen, adding that some natives alleged that the suspects had positioned themselves to attack the area.
Akinremi said he ordered his men to bring the suspects to the state command in Jalingo for interrogation to determine their innocence.
The commissioner said even though nothing incriminating was found on the suspects, the police had already conveyed 41 of them, who claimed to have cows domiciled in the area to Kashimbilla, for further investigation.
“About 41 of the suspects claimed they have cows at Kashimbilla. So, we need to verify if there is any evidence that they took cows to Bantaje for sale. We may probably find out from the native and middlemen if they had performed any transaction with them.”