Both the Gombe State police command and the leadership of Gombe State House of Assembly are downplaying an incident that led to a serious beating of a state lawmaker, Sagir Ahmad Haruna. Mr. Haruna, who represents Gombe South constituency, was last week physically assaulted by a senior police officer at checkpoint in the state.

A police source in Gombe town confirmed to SaharaReporters that a deputy superintendent of police popularly known as “Baba Yola” dealt the legislator several slaps at a police checkpoint.

Our source disclosed that the police officer was infuriated by the lawmaker’s behavior and suddenly slapped him. According to the source, the conflict that resulted in the slaps started with demands by the police to search the lawmaker and his car.

Another bystander who witnessed the confrontation and assault told SaharaReporters that he was surprised that the incident was being swept underneath the rug.“I saw it with my eyes,” said the source. “And then I heard both the police and their spokesman on radio denying the whole thing and saying that the lawmaker was not slapped. It is not true. Honorable Haruna was slapped by the police officer. We were all there and saw how it happened.”

A source close to the lawmaker said Mr. Haruna was also ashamed of the incident and was not enthusiastic to publicize the fact that he was beaten. “That is why he keeps referring journalists to go to the speaker of Gombe State House of Assembly, because he knowsthat the speaker will not speak,” said the source. A Gombe-based reporter told SaharaReporters that he had tried to interview the legislator on the incident, but that the lawmaker was uncooperative. “He kept saying that only the speaker will speak because he has briefed him,” said the reporter.

A fellow legislator in Gombe, who asked for anonymity, said he was disappointed that the issue was being hushed. “No person is above the law,” he said. “So if Honorable Sagir Ahmad Haruna committed any crime, we should know. But the police should also not be slapping people. They should be charging people who break the law to court.” The lawmaker added, “We have heard that he was beaten. Let him be bold enough to say it and save other innocent Nigerians from police brutality.”

He continued: “We need to know why did the police man slap him? The police man too should explain the reality of what transpired. But this one that the police and the speaker are playing games is not good.”

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