The suspected mastermind of Adamu Idris’ murder, the Ardo (Fulani chieftain) of Panyam in Plateau State’s Mangu Local Government, has been arrested.
The Nigerian Army announced in a statement that members of its Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) tactical squad apprehended Philip Gokas, alias Jaykimo, in Lagos State after a weeks-long manhunt.
Mr Idris, the deceased, was reported missing on September 24 while returning from a condolence visit to Mangu. His body was later discovered in a shallow burial in Bauchi State.
Mr Idris moved to Bauchi after his community was destroyed in the ongoing violence between Fulanis and Mwaghavuls.
Hundreds of people have died in the sometimes tit-for-tat warfare between Mwaghavuls and Fulanis, and many more have been displaced.
Oya James, the OPSH spokesperson, said the unit’s dogged pursuit of the suspect resulted in his arrest in the Ogba region of Lagos State, where he was discovered at a pub in a football viewing centre.
“The arrest of Mr Philip Gokas is a testament to the commitment and unwavering dedication of OPSH and the effectiveness of collaborative efforts.
“Mr Gokas has fully confessed to the crime and has provided crucial information that will aid in the arrest of additional individuals involved in this heinous act in the coming days.
“This development serves as a clear warning to criminals that they cannot elude justice as security agencies retain the capacity and resilience to utilise all elements of national power to hold them accountable as directed by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen CG Musa.
“Recall that, following the murder of Ardo Panyam, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, directed Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) to recover the body of the deceased, which was accomplished by the OPSH Tactical team in a remote area of Bauchi State and handed over to the family for burial.
“The directive further charged the troops to quickly hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice to prevent reprisals and a fresh circle of violence after the peace being enjoyed on the Plateau consequent upon the launch of Operation HAKORIN DAMISA IV.
“The breakthrough also signifies a milestone in our pursuit for justice. We, therefore, remain steadfast in our commitment to maintaining peace and security on the Plateau and its environs. We will continue to work tirelessly to prevent any escalation of violence.
“The General Officer Commanding 3 Division and Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN, Maj Gen AE Abubakar, expresses his heartfelt appreciation to the public for their support and cooperation throughout this investigation.
“The recovery of the body of the late Ardo of Panyam and the subsequent arrest of Mr Philip Gokas would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance and information provided by the community.
“He further reiterated that the criminal act was perpetrated by a few bad eggs in the society and does not represent the intent of the good people of Panyam who have lived for years peacefully with their Fulani brothers.
“The GOC further commended the troops especially the Tactical Team for their tireless efforts, professionalism, and unwavering commitment during the operation in far away Lagos.
“We assure the public that our efforts to ensure the safety and security of all citizens will not waver and remain paramount. We will continue to work closely with relevant stakeholders and engage in continuous dialogue to foster peace and tranquillity in the area,” the army said in a statement.