The panel set up by the Defence Headquarters(DHQ) to investigate the remote and immediate causes behind the killings of three policemen and two civilians killed by men of the Nigerian Army along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State, has recommended punishment for the six army and police officers that have been fingered in events that led to the gruesome occurence.
The 7-man Panel led by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Taiwo Olaiya
attributed the killings to poor communication between the late policemen and the soldiers.
Newspeakonline recalls that on August 6, 2019, three Policemen and two civilians were killed in Ibi local government area of Taraba State by men of the Nigrian Army, which prompted the federal government, the military and police high command to launch an investigation into the incident.
The panel constituted by the Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), Lt. General Gabriel Olonisakin to investigate the killing of the policemen who were in an undercover assignment to arrest notorious kidnapper, Hamisu Wadume, in its report submitted on Tuesday also blamed the incident on non adherence to Standard Operating Procedure by both parties.
In its recommendation, the panel stated that the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police Force should further investigate Captain Tijani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, DCO Ibi Police Division, ASP Aondona Iorbee and Inspector Aliyu Dadje for complacency and necessary disciplinary measures, adding that to forestall future occurrence, anyone found culpable should be brought to book in accordance with extant laws.
A statement signed by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, said “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 A.G. Olonisakin constituted a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate the incident.
“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 Aondona 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.
“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.”
It added: “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 assured the public that Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies are working in synergy to tackle contemporary security challenges bedeviling the nation.