By Emeka Mamah
KADUNA â€” The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) says it has set up a Board of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances which led to the alleged killing of aÂ taxi driver,Â Abdulrauf Wuraola Shittu, after an argument withÂ an air force personnel at Mando, near the Air ForceÂ Base in Kaduna State about threeÂ weeks ago.
This was disclosed by the Public Relations Officer ofÂ NAF, Squadron Leader, Edward Gabkwet, in Kaduna, yesterday. Gabkwet said that the Air Force, as a law-abiding organisation, values the live of any Nigerian and would not shield any of its personnel that takes the law into his hand.
Shittu, who was married to two wives with 10 children, died after allegedly being beaten by an Air Force officer attached to Kaduna Stateâ€™s security outfit known as Operation Yaki. He was confirmed dead at the nearby NAF clinic.
Gabkwet told newsmen that the career of the Air Force personnel involved in the incident and the life of the cab driver are important factors that necessitated the setting up of the board of enquiry.
According to him, â€œnobody is going to hide anything because we have found out that the deceased has 10 children and two wives. We are all human beings who value lives and so we can not just fold our hands and try to protect our personnel. We will not do that.
â€œWe are not going to shield anybody in this situation. We are very worried about what happens. If our officer is found guilty in this we will discourage such behaviour in future.
â€œThe NAF Base Commander and other members of Operation Yaki have paid a visit to the deceasedâ€™s family and the state government is also putting something together for the family.
â€œNAF is seriously worried about the incident because of the bad publicity it has given us. The Air Force personnel are professionals that do not engage in anything that has the capability of tarnishing the image of the Service,â€ he said.
Furthermore, Gabkwet, said that the officer allegedly involved in the incident is in custody of the Air Force command and has since been withdrawn from Operation Yaki, pending the outcome of investigations.
â€œWe are telling them that if they take the law into their hands, they will bear the full consequences. We have also started rotating them. They will be in the Operation Yaki and then taken back to the barracks while new ones replace. When we do that on a regular basis it will ensure that they still maintain their professionalism,â€ he added.