By Mirian Gom, Abuja
The board of inquiry (BOI), constituted by the Chief of Defence Staff, General AG Olonisakin, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of three Nigeria Police personnel and two civilians by some personnel of the Nigerian Army in Taraba state has recommended further investigation of Captain Tijani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammed, and Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, for complacency and necessary disciplinary measures.
The seven-member panel which submitted its report in Abuja to defence authorities, recommended that the Division Crimes Officer (DCO), Ibi Police Division, Assistant Superintendent of Police Aondoona Iorbee, and Inspector Aliyu Dadje, should similarly be investigated for complacency and possible punishment.The Panel was chaired by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Taiwo Olaiya as chairman, also
Acting Director, Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, who made this known in a statement on Tuesday, added that the BOI equally recommended that further investigation be conducted on Alhaji Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) for gunrunning and possible kidnapping, in order to prosecute the suspect.
The Olaiya – led panel was set up following the directive of 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 on August 6, 2019. The investigative panel 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.
According to Colonel Nwachukwu, the BOI after a thorough and painstaking investigation into the incident, observed in its report 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.”
“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,” said Defence spokesman.
Giving a background to the setting up of the probe panel, the DHQ statement recalled that on August 6, 2019, reports of the sad killing of three police men and two civilians in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State by troops of the Nigerian Army 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.”
The DHQ also assured the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies were working in synergy to tackle contemporary security challenges be-deviling the nation.
…..Army Launches Operation AYEM AKPATUMA II, Other Special Operations
Following the myriad of emergent threats that are burgeoning in some parts of the country, the Nigerian Army, on Tuesday, launched exercise AYEM AKPATUMA II, EGWU EKE IV, and CROCODILE SMILE IV to be conducted in some geopolitical zones.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai, said this at the combined press briefing in preparation for the conduct of series of military exercises within the respective geopolitical zones of the country to checkmate the activities of criminals and bandits at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who was represented by the Nigerian Army chief of Training and Operations, Major Gen. E. O. Udoh, explained that the launched exercises were in line with the Nigerian Army forecast of events 2019.
He said the exercises which included; exercises CROCODILE SMILE II, EGWU EKE IV and exercise AYEM AKPATUMA II were to be conducted concurrently in the South – South and South – west, South – East as well as North- Central zones respectively with effect from November 1, December 23, 2019.
He said the exercises woud be conducted to consolidate on the gains of of exercises AYEM AKPATUMA I,and EGWU EKE III and CROCODILE SMILE III that were conducted next year.
According to him, ” Operation Ayem Akpatuma Ii would be conducted in the North Central and part of the North Western states of Benue, that is Nasarawa, kogi, Taraba, Kaduna and Niger State, Exercise EGWU EKE IV WiIl be carried out in the South Eastern part of the country comprising Abia Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and imo state, while Exercise Crocodile Smiles IV will be held across some states in the south south and part of south western states including Akwa – Ibom, Bayelsa, cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers states”.
Gen Buratai reiterated that in addition to the three exercises, Operation Positive Identification which was ongoing in the North East theatre operations would be extended to the rest of the states across the country to curb out criminals and bandits.
The COAS, while appealing the public to fully cooperate with troops and other security agencies to successfully carry out the exercises, urged them to always carry valid means of identification such as National ID and voters Registration card, Driver’s license, international passport while moving out on their daily routine.