The tragic killing of Prof. Ahmad Mustapha Falaki

February 26, 2015
2 mins read

ON the 14th of February 2015, Prof. Ahmad Mustapha Falaki, Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was killed in still unexplained circumstances in a village called Fala, in the Kibiya local government area of Kano state. The professor, his younger brother, Abbas and driver, were returning to Kano, from a visit to Bauchi state.

It was Abbas, who narrated that they had stopped over to have lunch as well as change a tyre on their vehicle, when a group of armed men, suspected to be members of Bok Haram, approached on several motorcycles.

They stopped at the spot where the tyre was being changed and at gunpoint, seized Prof. Falaki’s SUV and drove away. The Boko Haram members had earlier attacked the police station in neighbouring Kibiya town. Prof. Falaki and the two people with him entered the village and narrated their experience to sympathetic villagers who offered to help secure vehicles to take them to Kano. Falaki made telephone calls to his family and colleagues in Zaria. Not long after, policemen who had been alerted by the village head arrived the village.

They interviewed the travellers who verified their identity with official identity cards. But the police amazingly announced them to villagers as “Boko Haram members”. That led to a mob attack on the three individuals. Professor Falaki died on the spot, while Abbas and driver sustained injuries. The policemen seemed to have triggered the orgy of violence with their incredible announcement; and that led to the tragic death of an outstanding intellectual, a decent family man and patriot, by the accounts of all those who knew the professor.

The Boko Haram insurgency has claimed the lives of thousands of our compatriots in different parts of Northern Nigeria. The collateral destruction of lives have been constant and central to the barbarity of the insurgency and because most of those that have been involved, have often been poor people in poor communities, the tragic poignancy of the losses have not often been overlooked in narratives about the Boko Haram killings. But the killing of a leading Nigerian intellectual like Prof. Ahmad Falaki, has brought to the fore the depth of the tragedy that our people have dealt with over the past six years.

It has also brought into focus the activities of the Nigerian Police Force and the general behaviour of our various security forces. If it is true that the police provoked the orgy of violence that led to Professor Falaki’s death, then those involved must be brought to book. Thankfully, the Inspector General of Police has given assurance this week, that the circumstances which led to Prof. Ahmad Falaki’s death, will be investigated. We hope that will be followed through. We should also hope those who popularised the irresponsible narrative that the Boko haram insurgency was started by Northerners because President Goodluck Jonathan is in power will re-think their irresponsibility!

The poet, John Donne, once said: “Every man’s death diminishes me, because I’m involved in mankind; So never ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”! Allah ya jikan Professor Ahmad Mustapha Falaki. Amin.

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