The police in Kano have denied causing the death of a professor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Ahmed Falaki.
The Assistant Inspector- General, Zone 1, Kano, Yabo Muhammad, told journalists on Wednesday that Mr. Falaki was not killed by a gunshot fired by the police but by mob action when he was mistaken for a terrorist.
Mr. Muhammad said the late scholar was coming back from Bauchi state on a trip and made a stop over to change a deflated tyre. He said Mr. Falaki’s Toyota Hilux van was then seized at gun point by fleeing insurgents. He added that the villagers chasing the insurgents had mistook Mr. Falaki for one of the terrorists and killed him.
The AIG said Mr. Falaki, his brother and a driver had headed to Fala village, a few metres from where their vehicle was snatched to seek assistance. He noted that the villagers initially assisted them and called residents of a neighbouring village, alerting them of the fleeing insurgents, and asking them to block the road.
Mr. Muhammad said, however, during the ensuing pandemonium Mr. Falaki had tried to identify himself to the special constabulary who had arrived the scene, displaying his identity card. But the police officer, unable to read the contents of the ID card, suggested that the late professor, his brother and a driver, were part of the insurgents.
According to Mr. Muhammad, Mr. Falaki’s driver, Tambari, had reported that it was the suspicions of the police officer that caused panic among the villagers, leading to the mob action and eventually Mr. Falaki’s death.
The corpse of the late professor was taken to the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital where an autopsy showed he had died of multiple scalp wounds stemming from the beating he received from the mob.
The AIG said investigations had revealed that Mr. Falaki and his travelling companions were not part of the insurgents who attacked the Kibiya Police Station. He said two of the actual insurgents were later tracked down in Bauchi state and are in the custody of the police.
He also said that in the course of the investigation, five suspects were arrested in connection with the brutal assault that led to the professor’s death and were charged to court for culpable homicide punishable by death under Section 221 of the penal code.
As for the police officers who exhibited negligence in the discharge of their duty, the AIG said they were currently being tried at an orderly room. He said appropriate punishment would be meted out to them.
However, Auwalu Yadudu, a constitutional lawyer, and the university authorities have disputed the police’s account of events.
They maintained that Mr. Falaki was killed by the police.