Sang Chieftaincy clash: Rights group, COFAA writes Gov Bala, links suspect’s death at correctional facility to torture

Mohammed Kaka Misau

A Human Rights Organization, Council for Affirmative Action (COFAA) has written to Governor Bala Mohammed of the state, drawing his attention to the death of one of the suspects arrested in connection to a recent Communal clash over Chieftaincy tussle in Sang community of Bogoro local government area of the state, Yusuf Bala at Bauchi correctional facility.

This was contained in the letter titled, Re: Emergency: Letter of Complaint and Demand against Commissioner of police, Controller of Nigeria Correctional Services and two other Senior Special Advisers, to the governor for criminal conspiracy, gross inhumane treatment, abuse of power and the murder of Yusuf Bala as well as the attempted killing of Air Commodore Ishaku Komo rtd,Gung Zaar-select and five others in Bauchi custodial center.

“We, the Council for Affirmative Action, write this letter to bring to your attention, a grave matter of concern involving high-ranking officials within your administration”, the letter which was dated 17th May, 2023 and signed by Mbami Iliya Sabka, an Undercover Human Rights Defender, Executive Director of the Rights group said.

The Council for Affirmative Action said it has received a complaint from the relatives of the victims, alleging that two members of the Governor’s cabinets who serve as Senior Special Advisers conspired with the Commissioner of Police and the Controller of Nigeria Correctional Services to perpetrate acts of gross inhumanity, abuse of power and murder.

According to COFAA, the two aforementioned Senior Special Advisers had contacted the Commissioner of Police via phone, reporting a communal clash in Sang Village of Bogoro LGA, purportedly stemming from the coronation of a Hamlet Head of Sang Village named Mr. Mathew Ishaya.

While noting that Air Commodore Ishaku Komo retired who holds the title of Gung Zaar Select was in Kaduna State at his Kaduna residence when the incident occurred but was invited by the Bauchi police commissioner and got arrested upon honoring the invitation.

COFAA said Ishaku Komo, Matthew Ishaya, Yusuf Bala, Appolos Hassan, Nathaniel Joshua, Abenagu Zakka, and James Dajum who were arrested by the police were charged with offenses such as criminal conspiracy, inciting disturbance of public peace, mischief by fire, causing grievous hurt, and culpable homicide against Apollos Danlami and Nahemiya Bature.

COFAA further stated that the victims were informed by the police that their arrest and detention were ordered from the Government House and were then subjected to severe torture for duration of three days in police custody.

“Subsequently, the victims were transferred to the Bauchi Custodial Centre of the Nigeria Correctional Services, Bauchi State Command, where the dehumanization continued”, the human rights organization said.

“Tragically, one of the victims, Yusuf Bala (Bature), lost his life due to the inhumane treatment he endured while in prison”, COFAA revealed.

The rights organization raised alarm that Air Commodore Ishaku Komo and others are presently in a state of coma as a result of the ongoing torture they are experiencing within the Bauchi Custodial Centre.

“It is pertinent to note that the corpse of Mr. Yusuf Bala (Bature) has been deposited at the Mortuary at Abubakar Tafawa Balawa Teaching Hospital in Bauchi, as revealed by our investigations”, the Rights group said.

“Your Excellency, we are compelled to ask whether your Senior Special Advisers, within a democratic society, possess the authority to instruct the police and correctional personnel to dehumanize the victims and unlawfully murder Mr. Yusuf Bala (Bature) without following due process of the law”, the letter reads in parts.

The rights organization implored Governor Bala Mohammed as the Chief Security Officer of the State, to categorically condemn the actions of the Commissioner of Police, the Controller of Nigeria Correctional Services, and the two Senior Special Advisers who appear to be undermining the principles and objectives of his government.

“We earnestly request that you intervene promptly and order the immediate release of the victims for the sake of their safety and the restoration of public peace”, COFAA demanded.

It also demanded that the perpetrators of the heinous acts of extra-judicial killing be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“No individual, regardless of their position or affiliation, should be considered above the law under your watch as the Chief Security Officer of the State”, Mbami said.

“Your Excellency, we believe that it is of utmost importance to address these grave violations of human rights and abuse of power. The actions of these individuals tarnish the reputation of your administration and jeopardize the trust of the people you serve”, he said.

“We trust in your commitment to justice, fairness, and the well-being of your constituents. Your swift and resolute response to this matter will not only restore faith in the government but also demonstrate your dedication to upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights of all citizens”, the letter added.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Bauchi state Command, SP Ahmed Wakil said he wouldn’t want to comment on the matter that is before the court.

Confirming the death, the Controller Nigeria Correctional Services Bauchi State Command, Ali Abubakar said that the suspect did not die as a result of torture.

The Controller said, “we don’t torture people in the custodial center, not only in this command but across the country, we don’t torture anybody, the man that died, died because he has case of low BP”.

According to him, the center was making arrangement to get medication for him before he died, adding that the custodial center has a qualified medical doctor who checked and confirmed that the deceased has low BP.

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