The police in Plateau State said on Sunday that they are not in possession of an identity card belonging to a member of cattle breeders association in the state.
The Plateau police spokesperson said Zakariya Idris, a senior member of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) who owns the ID card, was at the Bassa Divisional Headquarters in the state earlier today where he reported a case of armed invasion at his home.
There was a clash between Irigwe and Fulani residents in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State on Wednesday that caused the death of civilians and security operatives.
“The man whose face appeared on the ID card has reported at the Bassa Division today that his ID card was missing after his house was broken into during an attack,” said Tyopev Terna, the police spokesperson in Plateau. “But we have not found the ID card since nobody has brought it to the police.”
The clarification comes hours after The Punch reported that Mr. Idris’ ID card had sparked a controversy because it was purportedly found at the scene of a recent deadly attack in the state.
The paper quoted a community leader of Irigwe extraction in Bassa Local Government Area as stating that the ID card was found at the scene of an attack and that it had been submitted to the police alongside other items, including mobile telephones, recovered from the attackers.
But the police denied receiving such exhibits.
Undie Adie, the Plateau police commissioner, was the first to deny awareness, telling PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Sunday night that the report was not true.
“No ID card” found at the scene of any attack “was brought to my notice,” the commissioner said.
Similarly, Mr. Matthias said, after making findings with the police chief at Bassa Division, the claims that suspects phones and ID card were submitted to the police were untrue.
“Nobody submitted such items to the police,” the assistant superintendent of police said.
It was not immediately clear why Mr. Idris only reported the attack which allegedly occurred at his residence on Wednesday to the police on Sunday. PREMIUM TIMES’ attempt to reach him for comments fell through Sunday night.
The Punch ran its story after a Twitter post that first made the claim went viral, although the paper made no reference to the tweet, which was posted with an account that has @StevenDasplang as screename.
The tweet, which did not clarify that the ID card was found after a clash between warring tribes in the community, was posted shortly before 11:00 a.m. on March 16, and has been retweeted more than 1,300 times with dozens of comments.
The discovery of Mr. Idris’ ID card comes two days after a deadly clash between Irigwe and Fulani residents left many dead, including two soldiers attached to the Operation Safe Haven.
The clash occurred barely a day after 29 people of the recent killings in Bassa LGA were given a mass burial. The local government is currently under a curfew imposed by the state government.
Several clashes had occurred between ethnic nationalities and Fulani inhabitants in Bassa LGA this year alone.
Mr. Matthias said the police would investigate the attacks on Mr. Idris that led to the carting away of his identity card and other valuables from his residence.