The Beroms and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria are trading blames over the arrest of a community leader with five human skulls by the Special Task Force (STF) deployed to restore law and order in Jos, the Plateau State capital and its environs.
Parading the suspects before newsmen, the media officer of the STF captain Salisu Mustapha, said at about 4:30 am men of the STF conducted series of cordon and search operations within Bokkos and Mangu local government areas of the state.
He added that during the operation the suspect was arrested in possession of five human skulls in the ceiling of his residence.
According to the STF, on preliminary investigation, the suspect arrested with the human skulls had denied having knowledge of the skulls. The spokesman further said the suspects would be handed over to appropriate authorities for further investigation.
It could be recalled that our correspondent had reported that a community leader in Mangu local government council of the state was alleged to be in police net for being in possession of five human heads.
Eyewitnesses had told our reporter that some arms and ammunition were also recovered from the suspect's residence.
The community leader was said to have been taken away with the human heads and the arms found in his home.
However, a new twist has emerged following the parade before newsmen, as this man was caught with five human skulls in his house in Mangu, Plateau State.
In the centre of the storm is the Meyitti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Plateau State Chapter which says the group has identified him as one of their members and has accused the Special Task Force on Jos Crisis and the Beroms of colliding in order to implicate the suspect.
Malam Muhammad Nura, the state secretary of MACBAN in a statement issued in Jos yesterday and made available to LEADERSHIP-WEEKEND said the alleged discovery of the human skulls in the ceiling of the house of Alhaji Sale Albashir by the STF who paraded the suspect was just a set up and conspiracy between the Berom and STF in order to dent the good image of not only Alhaji Sale but the entire Fulanis.
But in swift reaction, the management committee chairman of Berom youth,Moulder Dantong told LEADERSHIP-WEEKEND that the man arrested with five human skull was arrested in Mangun in Mangu local government of the state adding that the man was not arrested on Berom land talk more of colliding with STF.
According to him, it is a clear manifestation of their cry that Fulani Ardo have been recruiting mercenaries to kill innocent people in the state as can be seen during the parade of Alhaji Sale with five human skulls which did not go down well with members of MACBAN.
Dantong further said this development has shown that the Ardo recruit mercenaries to come and kill not only in Berom land but also in Maghavul land too, while urging the security operatives to as a matter of urgency spread their tentacle to the houses of other Fulani Ardo in the state and they will be surprised with the discovery.
He added that they have been vindicated and called on Fulani Ardo in Berom land to stop further recruitment of mercenaries to kill Berom people on their own land, warning that enough is enough.
The statement said the suspect is a revered elder in the Mangun Community of Mangu local government area of the state, whose character and actions portrait peace and sincerity, stressing that the man is not into witchcraft and neither is he a criminal to have something to do with human skulls.
He maintained that the Miyetti Allah cattle Breeders' Association demanded urgent and sincere investigation into the matter by the Crime Investigation Department (CID), of the Nigeria Police, which had taken over the case from the STF.
MACBAN also sought for autopsy to be conducted on the skulls by an expert outside Plateau State, in order to establish facts on how and when the killings were carried out on the bodies whose skulls were severed and alleged to have been found in the suspect's residence.
The statement reads in part, "In the interest of justice and sequence to the rule of law, we are therefore demanding the immediate prosecution of the said suspect before the court of law."
They also threatened to take legal action against the STF, for defamation of character if eventually he is found to be innocent, stressing that "we shall prove his innocence."
Speaking to LEADERSHIP-WEEKEND on the allegation by MACBAN that STF collided with the Berom to dent the image of Alhaji Sale Albashir and that of the entire Fulani, the spokesman of the task force Captain Salisu Mustapha said the task force was not colliding with anybody, adding that a thorough search was conducted in the house of the man and the five human skulls were recovered from his ceiling.
According to him, they were discharging their constitutional duties saying they will continue to do that without fear or favour in the state.
Berom land has been under constant attack by people suspected to be hired mercenaries from other state killing hundreds in the last few years.
In the same vein the GbongGwom Jos Da Jacob Gyang Buba during a peace tour to crisis ridden area, accused people outside the state of recruiting mercenaries to attack and kill people while instigating crisis in the state.