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29th January 2023
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Wadume Kidnapping Saga: Panel Releases Report On Killings

Wadume Kidnapping Saga: Panel Releases Report On Killings
Wadume Kidnapping Saga: Panel Releases Report On Killings

The panel of inquiry set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the killing of three Police operatives of IRT by soldiers in Taraba state during the Wadume kidnapping saga, has finally released their findings on the saga.

The Wadume kidnapping saga that led to the death of three Police Officers who were said to have been killed by some soldiers after the bus they were conveying the suspected kidnapper Hamisu Wadume was shot at, generated a lot of angry reactions both from the Nigerian Police and some Nigerians, were said to have been ordered by one Army Captain, Tijani Balarabe.

The report said Tijani ordered the shooting of the bus and did so because there was an alarm stating the Kidnappers have abducted Alhaji Hamish Bala Wadume in a white Hummer bus.

The panel also said there was a need for the said Army Captain, some soldiers of 93 battalions, the Divisional Crime Officer of Wukari Police Station and some Policemen to be further investigated over alleged complicity in the unfortunate Wadume kidnapping saga that led to the death of three Policemen.

In a statement released on Tuesday October 2019 by the Nigerian Defence Headquarters, which was a report on the Wadume kidnapping saga, was titled: ‘Report of Board of Inquiry to Investigate the Circumstances Surrounding the Killing of Three Nigeria Police Personnel and Two Civilians by Troops of Nigerian Army in Taraba State’ signed by Col Onyema Nwachukwu, Acting Director, Defence Information.

The full report as released by the Nigerian Defence headquarters reads:

Following the directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari for an immediate investigation into the unfortunate incident that led to the killing of 3 Nigerian Police Force (NPF) personnel and 2 civilians by troops of the Nigerian Army (NA) along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State, the Chief of Defence Staff General AG Olonisakin constituted a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate the incident.

The 7 member BOI led by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Taiwo Olaiya as chairman, comprised one representative each from the Defence Headquarters, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Defence Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Police and Department of State Service.

You will recall that on 6 August 2019, reports of the sad killing of 3 police men and 2 civilians in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State by troops of the NA broke out. This gave rise to serious concern by the Federal government, the military and police high command.

The incident started from Ibi town, following an alarm alleging the kidnap of one Alhaji Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) by some individuals in a Hummer bus. Captain Tijani Balarabe informed all military checkpoints along Ibi-Wukari Road, who sprang into action.

The alleged Hummer bus mentioned in the distress call however conveyed Police personnel of the IGP-IRT who were on a legitimate duty in Taraba State. Also, military checkpoints in the area were deployed by troops of Headquarters 93 Battalion, Takum, who were equally on legitimate duty to checkmate communal clashes, kidnapping and armed robbery, which were prevalent threats in Wukari Ibi area.

After a thorough and painstaking investigation into the incident, the BOI submitted its report to the convening authority observing that, there were infractions and poor communication between personnel of the NPF and troops of the NA. It was also observed that there was non-adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure by both parties involved in the incident. It further made some recommendations to the NA and NPF to forestall future reoccurrence and bring anyone culpable to book in accordance with extant laws.

The BOI also recommended that the NA and NPF should further investigate Captain Tijani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, DCO Ibi Police Division, Assistant Superintendent of Police Aondoona Iorbee, and Inspector Aliyu Dadje for complacency and necessary disciplinary measures. It was also recommended that further investigation be conducted on Hamisu Bala for gunrunning and possibly kidnapping, in order to prosecute the suspect.

Additionally, the BOI recommended that the Services and other security agencies establish an Interagency Liaison Desk to include senior officers for timely resolution of future misdemeanor.

The Defence Headquarters once again assures the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are working in synergy to tackle contemporary security challenges be-deviling the nation.
ONYEMA NWACHUKWU
Colonel
Acting Director Defence Information”

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