Professor Ahmad Falaki, the director of the Institute of Agriculture Research at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has been killed after police seemingly mishandled an incident following a Boko Haram attack.
On Saturday around 4.30pm, suspected Boko Haram members attacked the Kibiya police station in Kano and engaged policemen in a gun battle. Policemen and villagers had on Sunday claimed that two of the sect members were killed while running away after their defeat at the station.
Kano Police Command spokesman, ASP Magaji Musa Majia, had told Daily Trust on Sunday that two Boko Haram members who attacked the police station were killed.
He had said,“The insurgents who rode on three motorcycles were ambushed by villagers who were alerted by the sporadic gunshots. They lynched one of the militants and arrested two others. Our men killed one earlier during the attack at the police station”.
Unfortunately, it now seems that one of the individuals ASP Maija referred to was the late professor, and that the two people arrested as Boko Haram members were Professor Falaki's brother, Mallam Abbas Mustapha Falaki, a retired school head, and the professor’s official driver, Lawal Ahmad.
Mustapha Falaki explained that the three men were returning from Bauchi state by car when they had a flat tyre.
He said, “We had a flat tyre in Fala village of Tudun Wada LGA of Kano State while returning from Bauchi State. It was while we were there that Boko Haram members riding on seven motorcycles came to us and demanded for the professor’s Toyota Hilux vehicle. The driver looked at the professor’s eyes and he asked him to give it to them. They jumped into the car and sped off. They did not harm us as we didn’t argue with them”.
He said when the militants left, the professor suggested they walk to Fala village to get another vehicle to Kano. While walking to the village, the professor made some calls to Kano.
“When we got to the village, the people started suspecting us because some of them saw us while we were trying to change our flat tyre on the outskirts of the village. But we told them that our car had been snatched by some gunmen. The professor told them to help us get another vehicle because it was around 6pm,” he said.
He described how, while they were waiting for the vehicle, the villagers suddenly pounced on them after a team of policemen arrived from Kibiya .
"The professor quickly showed the policemen his ABU identity card and asked them to stop the villagers. But the policemen did not, and the locals continued to stab him with knives and inflict machete cuts in many places. I ran into the bush but a police officer shot at my direction.
“I thought the bullet had hit me so I fell down. The villagers came to where I was and stabbed me on my face and other places. They threw me and professor into the police van. When we got to Kibiya police division, the policemen were celebrating that they had killed Boko Haram members,” he said.
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Abbas Falaki said he told the policemen that they were not Boko Haram members and that the man killed was Professor Falaki of the ABU.
“It was while we were there that the professor’s driver who ran into the bush was brought in. When operatives of the Kano Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) came, they interrogated me and the driver and discovered that we were not Boko Haram members,” he said.
The professor’s body was released on Sunday around 3pm and has since been buried in accordance with Islamic rites. He is survived by three wives and 18 children.
ASP Majia, reacting to the new development, said his earlier statement on the attack was based on a preliminary report from the scene of the incident.
He said,“Our earlier statement was based on the report we got from our men but we have since discovered that it was Professor Falaki that was lynched and not a Boko Haram member and the two other persons arrested were his co-travellers.
“He was stabbed severally by the mob. Our men tried to rescue him. We are not killers, we are out to protect the masses. Our further information has since revealed that they were not Boko Haram members. Their vehicle was snatched by the fleeing insurgents. We are going to investigate whether there was case of negligence on the part of our men at the station,” he concluded.
Fala's village head, Mohammadu Zagina, confirmed the killing of the professor, and indicted the policemen saying they had witnessed the mob action.
Meanwhile, the vigilante groups in Borno state, popularly called Civilian JTF, have declared full support for the presidential aspirations of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming general elections.