The National Security Council on Thursday ordered an investigation into Tuesday’s killing of three police intelligence officers by soldiers at a checkpoint in Ibi, Taraba State.
This is as information has emerged about the heroics of the Intelligence Response Team members shot to death by soldiers on Tuesday. The slain cops were led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Felix Adolije, of the Intelligence Response Team,
The team was said to be part of operatives who rescued the District Head of Daura, Alhaji Musa Umar in Kano State and arrested 13 suspects involved in his abduction in Daura, Katsina State, on May 1, 2019.
The IRT Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, informed The PUNCH via WhatsApp on Thursday, that the team was one of the best and most highly trained IRT teams in the country.
He explained that the members were part of the teams responsible for the arrest of the alleged notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, aka Evans in Lagos.
According to him, the men also took part in the arrest of 22 Boko Haram terrorists who abducted over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in Borno State in 2014.
Kyari stated, “They similarly participated in the arrest of Umar Abdulmalik, the overall Boko Haram Commander in the North-Central, Nigeria and several of his group members.
“They arrested the kidnappers of two Americans and two Canadian citizens in Kaduna State and most recently, they took part in the rescue of Magajin Garin Daura in Kano State during which 13 suspects who carried out the abduction were arrested in Kano.”
The DCP lamented the alleged release of Hamisu by the soldiers who attacked the IRT team, describing the incident as sad.
The Nigerian Army has, however, promised to collaborate with the police to investigate the incident.
Meanwhile, the National Security Council, presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, has set up a committee to conduct the investigation during its meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
The council described the incident as “unfortunate” and directed the Defence Headquarters to constitute the panel to carry out the investigation immediately.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed the council’s decision to State House Correspondents after the end of a closed-door meeting.
He stated, “The council also decided that the unfortunate incident in Taraba State in Ibi, a committee will be set up under the Defence Headquarters, to critically look into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident.”
Speaking on other deliberations at the meeting, the Chief of Air Staff stated that the current security measures put in place in the country were assessed.
Abubakar added, “We are making substantial progress in all the areas of conflicts.”
The Nigeria Police had on Wednesday alerted the public to the killing of the three officers and one civilian by the soldiers along the Ibi-Jalingo Road. It also said many other officers were wounded.
The policemen came under attack while taking a suspected kidnapping kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu, to the state Police Command Headquarters in Jalingo.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, had said in a statement in Abuja that one police inspector, two sergeants and a civilian died as a result of gunshot wounds they sustained in the attack.
Mba stated that the soldiers shot the policemen despite sufficient proof that they were on a legitimate duty. They subsequently released the suspected kidnapper, who is now on the run.
However, the Army, through its spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, reacted that the shooting took place after the policemen were flagged down at a military checkpoint, but refused to stop. Musa claimed they were killed in error.
Police demand kingpin’s whereabouts
But the police in a late statement, asked the Nigerian Army for the whereabouts of the alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume, who escaped during the incident.
The force also demanded explanations on why the suspect was released, insisting that he could not have escaped with handcuffs from his “military rescuers.”
Mba in the statement on Thursday said, “The most important question arising from the Nigerian Army statement is: Where is Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume? Wadume is a millionaire kidnapper arrested by the police but paradoxically treated as a ‘kidnap victim’ by the soldiers and subsequently ‘rescued’ by them. Where is he? Where is the rescued kidnapper?
“The Force also considers it insensitive, disrespectful and unpatriotic of the army to continue to describe policemen on a lawful national assignment as ‘suspected kidnappers’ long after it had become crystal clear that these are law enforcement officers who were gruesomely murdered in the line of duty by Nigerian soldiers attached to 93 Battalion, Takum.”
Also, the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operation of Nigeria Dr Ona Ekhomu, who condemned the killing of the policemen, said the use of the military in public law enforcement should be reduced.
In an amateur video posted on YouTube, the three shot policemen and a civilian were seen surrounded by some bystanders after they had been shot.
The people even attempted to attack them possibly because the soldiers had told them they were kidnappers.
One of them that did not die immediately was seen raising up his hands in agony. From his gesture, he appeared to be begging for help or telling the people that they were policemen. He later slumped and died.