Army, Police Shouting Match Disrupts DHQ Panel On Wadume

LAGOS AUGUST 27TH (NEWSRANGERS)-The bickering between the Nigerian Army and the police over the circumstances that led to the killing of three policemen and two civilians during the escape of suspected Taraba kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala Wadume, earlier in the month disrupted the smooth operations of the panel set up by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) to probe the incident, learnt from police sources at the panel.
A source said during the panel’s sittings, the Nigerian Army and the police engaged in a shouting match, trading harsh words, ornamented with harmful grandiloquence on the cause of the incident. Soldiers of the 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, shot members of a special anti-crime squad from the office of the Inspector General of Police, who had arrested Wadume and were transporting him to the state police command, Jalingo, for interrogation. Three policemen and two civilians were killed on the spot. The army then took the suspect to the army headquarters from where he was set free.
The soldiers hinged their action on an alleged claim they got a tip-off that Wadume was being kidnapped and the police squad’s alleged refusal to stop at three military checkpoints to identify themselves. However, the police, countered, saying the team followed standard operational procedures and properly identified themselves. The police accused the army of collaborating with Wadume and his gang to abort the operation. also learnt that the panel, headed by Rear Admiral IT Olaiya, which sat in Taraba and Abuja, had completed its investigations and might submit its report to the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, later this week. “Though the committee was made up of the army, police, navy, air force, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), Department of State Services (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the army and the police stood their grounds and made presentations that reinforced and consolidated their initial positions on the conflict.
A source said: “The police maintained their position that the soldiers who carried out the shooting aided the escape of the kidnap kingpin by cutting his handcuffs and setting him free. The army on its part also took exception to the decision of the police to release the video of Wadume’s confession on twitter while the panel had not concluded sitting. The panel members were also not okay with the confession video released by the police after the re-arrest of the kidnap suspect.
“The arguments of both the police and army reflected the initial positions they had taken before the panel was set up, though the evidence and submissions punctured some of their arguments. To douse the tensions, the panel chairman insisted that what should be paramount was not the position taken by each party but the evidence being compiled by the panel to unravel the circumstances” the source said.
He said the panel members were also uncomfortable with “inaccurate and sometimes misleading reports in the media, some of which were publicized and did not reflect what was going on in the panel.” Another source said the panel would recommend disciplinary and punitive measures, including dismissal and court-martial in the case of indicted military personnel. gathered that the panel was determined to ensure that appropriate sanctions were applied to culpable personnel involved in the shooting. On the inducement of army personnel by Wadume, the source said the panel was determined to make recommendations that would ensure security agencies were not turned to cheap, cash-and-carry institutions by criminal elements.
“The military institution should not be turned to a criminal business enterprise by personnel and same for other agencies. Those who are not ready to do this work should look elsewhere. Those found culpable should face the wrath of the law and the innocent must be set free in spite of any unsubstantiated evidence out there.” Meanwhile, the panel Chairman, Olaiya has instructed the secretariat of the committee to compile all submissions, interrogations, witness submissions and video evidence to his office for final compilation and submission within the week.
In a related development, former senator Shehu Sani has said the controversy surrounding the arrest and re-arrest of Wadume vindicated former defence minister, Theophilus Danjuma, who claimed the armed forces collude in the killing of Nigerians. Danjuma, while speaking at the maiden convocation of Taraba State University in 2018, called on Nigerians to defend themselves. The retired general accused the army and other security agencies of colluding with killers to attack Nigerians.
“The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them,” Danjuma said. “If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one. “The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba state, must stop in all the states of Nigeria. I ask everyone one of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.”
Contrary to the principles of natural justice, the army set up a panel to investigate the claim by Danjuma. The panel concluded then that the retired general’s allegation was unfounded. However, in a tweet, Sani said: “Wadume partly proved the Theophilus scientific hypothesis of collusion.“
Huhu Online

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Posted by on Aug 27 2019. Filed under National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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