Some residents of Nasarawa state have told Amnesty International (AI) that policemen sent to their communities to stop attacks by suspected herdsmen asked them to pay N150,000.
The residents made the allegations in a report released by AI on the conflict between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
In the report released Monday, the villagers were quoted as saying the policemen who were reportedly deployed from the force criminal intelligence and investigation department asked them to pay the money for “logistics”.
The report read: “Some residents of villages from Nasarawa and Kokona LGAs and Agwada, Udege, and Loko Development Area Councils, all within Nasarawa State, on 10 March 2017 wrote a petition to the Chief of Army Staff seeking help against what they described as incessant attacks by Fulani gunmen on their communities.
“The army wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), attaching the petition, asking the IGP to “look into the petition with a view to taking necessary action to remedy the situation”.
“The IGP forwarded the letter to the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department for investigation.
“The villagers told Amnesty International that the policemen sent from the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters asked them to pay N150,000 ($411), for logistics, which they paid in cash, because the policemen did not want to leave any trace of the funds to them. But only three policemen were sent to Nasarawa LGA.
“The policemen then went to the police station in Agwada town between the 25 and 27 May 2017, where they asked people from the affected villages to come and write statements.
“According to a resident of one of the villages, the policemen refused to go to the villages, complaining of bad road and that the Fulani gunmen had better weapons than them.”
Isa Sanusi, AI spokesman, confirmed the villagers’ claim to TheCable on Tuesday.
“I can confirm that to you. We have evidences. Everything in that report is a fact so they asked them to pay,” he said.
TheCable reached out to Jimoh Moshood, Nigeria police spokesman, but he denied the allegations.
Moshood said he reached out to the force criminal intelligence and investigations department and the officer in charge said no one asked for money from the villagers.
“It is totally false. I checked with the department after reviewing your text message and I can tell you it is mere heresay. No police will ask for money from citizens,” he told TheCable.