Jos, Nigeria: A Village Chief in Central Nigeria’s Plateau State, Mr. Mafulul Mahwel is currently on life support machine after falling ill in Police custody.
The Village Head of Mahurum in Monguna District in Bokkos Local Government Area was on Tuesday January 28, 2020 detained along with leaders of Fulani herdsmen believed to have had prior knowledge of an attack in Kwatas village, two days earlier.
The arrested was on the orders of the State Governor, Simon Lalong following reports of a broken peace pact leading to the attacks.
After a day in the Plateau State Police Criminal Investigation Department, all suspects were transferred to the Special Anti-Ribbery Squad office in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
They were transferred back to Jos and arraigned on Wednesday after vigorous interventions by local attorneys.
Charged with criminal conspiracy and other criminal offenses, the suspects were released on bail but Mr. Mahwel was already critically ill.
“He couldn’t even talk or walk by himself. I had to take him to the hospital and he is even on oxygen now,” said an anonymous Community leader.
It is not yet confirmed if Mr. Mahwel’s illness is as a result of excessive torture which is a globally recognized human rights violation and an offence prohibited in Nigeria by the Anti-torture Act 2017.
Nonetheless, section 35 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution states that the police may not detain any suspect for longer than 48 hours without a court order.
The detention of Mr. Mahwel for two weeks was not authorized by any court of law, and was thus unlawful.
More so, his community which has equally suffered armed herdsmen attacks is located miles away from Kwatas village where the latest attacks took place.
The Chairman of Bokkos Local Government Area, Yusuf Machen had on Thursday 23rd January, 2920 held a meeting with community leaders from Kwatas and other nearby villages eventually attacked on Sunday 26th January 2020.
The Chairman briefed the State Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinwumi of the outcome of the meeting on Saturday January 25, 2020, the day before the attacks.
Mr. Mahwel’s arrest along with the prime suspects has therefore been widely condemned as victimizing the victims of violence.