Police deny jihadist herdsmen have taken over two local governments in Sokoto State

SOKOTO State Police Command has denied recent reports of an influx of jihadists into the state who were reported to have come into Nigeria from neighbouring countries and begun collecting tax from local people and imposing strict Sharia law on the populace.


Last week, several social media outlets reported that the Islamists came into Sokoto State from Niger Republic and established themselves as the local authorities. This prompted the Sokoto State police commissioner to investigate the claims and according to the police, they have visited the area affected and found the report to be untrue.


Police spokeswoman Deputy Superintendant of Police (DSP) Cordelia Nwawe, said: “Our attention was drawn towards a report that some unknown herdsmen called jihadists, fully armed to destroy the peace, were sighted in Gudu and Tangaza local government areas. However, the situation was misreported based on our intelligence report as the herdsmen sighted are reasonably believed to be Malians who reside in a forest in Niger Republic, sharing a border with Gudu and Tangaza local government areas of the state.


“The herdsmen are annual visitors to the nearby forest bordering the two local governments with their cattle and always stayed in the forest in Niger Republic. Even though the number of their cattle increased exponentially this year to about 3,000 from the usual figures of less than 1000, it was discovered that they are not known to be violent. Moreover, they occasionally enter the villages in the two local governments to procure food and other essentials and retire back to the forest."


DSP Nwawe called on the people living in the areas to remain calm and go on their normal business, assuring them that police were always there to protect their lives and properties. She added that the situation of the areas remained peaceful and enjoined the people to always assist police with useful information that could lead to the success of the command in the state.