Five vigilante operatives have been arrested by the Kano State Police Command for allegedly beating a young man to death after accusing him of trying to steal generator fuel.
Kano Focus reports that the incident happened in the early hours of Monday in Sharada Ja’en area of Gwale local government of Kano state.
It was learnt that the deceased, Mustapha Shehu Gwarzo and four of his friends, were chased by the vigilante members, who reportedly saw them in front of a generator set, with gallons and rubber pipes at midnight.
While his friends managed to escape, it was learnt that Mr Mustapha was not so lucky as the angry vigilante operatives caught up with him and allegedly beat him to coma.
Father of the deceased, Malam Shehu Gwarzo told Kano Focus that his son later died at Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital.
Mr Gwarzo however said his son was not a thief, but a watchman for the generator, who was killed by the vigilante operatives on his duty post.
“I received a call on Monday morning that my son was admitted in hospital after he was beaten by vigilante members, so I quickly rushed to the hospital and found him in coma,” he said.
He explained that when the incident was reported to a police station in Sharada area, the police invited the vigilante members and asked them to write a statement explaining how Mr Mustapha was beaten.
But Mr Gwarzo added that instead of narrating the correct version of the incident, the vigilante members allegedly changed the story by claiming that they handed over the victim to Civil Defense officials after arresting him.
“The vigilante commandant of the area had earlier admitted to me that what his men did to my son was wrong and asked me for forgiveness but to my surprise, when the matter reached the police criminal investigation department (CID),they changed the story and claimed that my son was beaten by Civil Defense officers, ” he said.
The spokesperson for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) in Kano, ASC Ibrahim Idris Abdullahi, however denied the allegations.
Mr Abdullahi told Kano Focus that when the vigilante members approached civil defense officers and tried to hand over Mr Mustapha, the officers rejected the victim, after noticing that he had been severely beaten.
“Instead, our men told the vigilante operatives to take the victim to the hospital. It was not true that civil defense officers beat the deceased,” he said.
However, the Vigilante Commandant in Kano, Muhammad Kabir Alhaji told our correspondent that his men were on patrol when they saw five men standing close to a generator “trying to steal its fuel”.
Mr Alhaji added that when his men confronted the alleged fuel thieves, they tried to escape and one of them (referring to Mr Mustapha) fell into a gutter and got injured.
“Our men while on duty saw five people beside the generator with gallons and pipes trying to steal fuel from the generator, and my men tried to arrest them but they ran away” he said.
“As our members chased them, one of the suspects fell into a gutter and got injured. He was then taken to hospital where he later died,” Mr Alhaji added.
Spokesperson of the Kano Police Command, Abdullah Haruna Kiyawa, confirmed the arrest of the five vigilante members.
Mr Kiyawa, a deputy superintendent of police, said the Commissioner of Police Ahmad Iliyasu has ordered an investigation into the matter, adding that whoever is found wanting would be prosecuted.