The police in Kwara State have paraded a suspect, Mr. Odobaba Babatunde, on charges of possession of firearms, but he claimed to have bought the locally made gun from a blacksmith in readiness for any possible attack on his community by Fulani herdsmen.
Babatunde, 35, said his community, Agatu, in Benue State had before been attacked by Fulani herdsmen.
Speaking after being paraded by the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, Mr. Olusola Amore in Ilorin, Babatunde alleged that Fulani herdsmen had wreaked havoc in his community over the years and he could no longer watch his people die cheaply.
Babatunde said, “Our community and Fulani herdsmen have been having clashes for a long time. A blacksmith made the gun for me. I got the gun so that I can protect myself against herdsmen attacks.
But since I bought the gun, there have been no attacks.”
The police said the suspect was nabbed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives of Kwara State Police Command while on a patrol along Eruku/Omu-Aran Road on Monday at about 5.20pm.
Amore said when a search was conducted on the suspect, a locally-made pistol with two live cartridges was found on him.
Amore said the suspect would be charged to court after the conclusion of investigation.
Meanwhile, the CP said 20 people had been arrested in connection with cult clashes in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
He stated that after profiling the 20 suspects, six of them were identified to have been indicted over recent clashes and killings in the state.
Amore, who spoke through the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, during a briefing in Ilorin, said the police had launched a manhunt for other fleeing members of the suspects’ gangs.
He stated that the indicted suspects would be arraigned after the completion of investigation. Though the CP said four people were killed during recent cult clashes between last week Thursday and Saturday.
It was learnt that about eight people were killed while many others sustained varying degrees of injuries during the cult war. Areas mostly affected by the clashes are Ikokoro, Kilanko, Oyun, Olunlade, Osere, Niger, Olufadi, Egebejila and Ita -Ogunbo areas of Ilorin.
The CP said normalcy had returned to the troubled areas, adding that the command would continue to ensure safety of lives and property and reduction of crime in the state.