By Kingsley Omonobi, Joseph Erunke & Okolie Ifeanyi
…As Police fail to parade suspects
Family of late former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal, Alex Badeh, yesterday, refuted claims by the suspects linked to his death that they killed him to seize alleged huge sums of money he had on him to buy farmland.
The family insisted that contrary to the claim, Badeh did not discuss any issue about the acquisition of land neither was he with up to N500 on the day he was killed.
This came as Police authorities failed, yesterday, to parade five suspects, including two masterminds of the December 18 killing of Badeh.
The five suspects who the media expected would be paraded, yesterday, at Force Headquarters, Abuja, were not paraded as the Police said doing so would jeopardize ongoing investigation and efforts to arrest other members of the gang still at large.
Family denies report on cause of death
Refuting the cause of death, the family said the claim was a “cook-up story to deceive the public and hide the killers and their intentions.”
The family called Vanguard to the late Chief of Air Staff’s Abuja residence, yesterday, to react to the claim by the suspected killers that he was killed because of the huge amount of money he had carried to his farm in Panda Development Area of Nasarawa State, to buy additional land.
But while delegating only one member to speak, the family insisted that the name of the representative be kept in secrecy.
Speaking, the family member said: ”We called you here because we have been following your report in Vanguard since our son and brother, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was killed by yet-to-be identified people.
“We are not happy with the report being put out to the public there on the circumstances that led to his death. We as a family, believe that some people responsible for his death want to deceive the public by hiding the facts of what happened, how it happened and those responsible.
“I want to emphatically tell you here that contrary to the claim that he went to his farm on the fateful day with huge amount of money to buy additional farmland, there was nothing like that. In fact, he had no money on him that day, not even N500 in the vehicle.
“As I told you, no money, I repeat, no money was in that vehicle. Not even N500 was in that vehicle on that day he was killed. I repeat that no N500 not even N1000 was in that motor he drove that he was killed that day.
“Before his death, a villager who knew he was on the farm that day went to meet him to get money to buy paracetamol tablet for his headache but my brother could not afford the money for him. Instead, he asked the person if he could go to Panda Market.
“When the man said he could, our brother told him to pick 10 mudus (measured quantity) of maize to sell in the market and buy drug for himself, saying that was the only help he could render to him since he had no cash to give out.
“He took time to narrate to the person that as he was talking to him, there was a huge refuse dump at his house in Abuja and the people responsible for packing it, that is the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, had refused to do so because he had no money to pay for the packing.
“He added that his cook and the cleaner in his house had not been paid, explaining further that those were the reasons he went to farm on that day to pick some bags of harvested maize, like 100 bags, to sell so as to raise money to settle those issues.
“Again, he told his workers on the farm that since they have blocked his pension, his only source of getting money, only three out of the eight working for him can remain as he wouldn’t have money to pay all the eight anymore.
“He said ‘I’m sorry to tell you this but this is the reality, I can only retain three workers now, the five of you have to go so that I won’t be owing you salaries. He said I can be selling maize and be paying salary for the three that I will retain.’
Why he went to the farm
“He did not have N500 on that day they killed him, I swear to God. All this you are hearing is a cook-up story. He went to farm to pick some bags of corn to sell so that he could raise money to pay the workers on the farm, the cook and cleaner in the house as well as for the packing of refuse dump here in the house.
“You can see the huge refuse dump here near the wall. If you see this refuse, they had to shift it from this wall closer to the primary school there because of the odour oozing out from the waste bins. You can see the dustbins there (pointed to it).
“So where did they get the information they released to the public from?”
Meanwhile, a source who spoke to Vanguard at the FPRO’s office said, two of the suspects who he refused to identify, had confessed to the killing, adding that one of them masterminded the killing. The source explained that the suspect who masterminded the killing was the same person who opened the fatal shots that killed the general.
According to the source, who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, said: “They are two suspects we had planned to parade before newsmen today (yesterday) and they confessed in taking part in the killing of the General.
“They are both Fulani bandits but one of them had pre-knowledge that the General was to buy an additional farmland close to the one he has on the Kaduna-Keffi expressway and he knew the money will be paid in cash and he was the person who arranged his gang members to attack and rob the General of the money.
“The mastermind confessed that he opened the fatal shot that killed General and injured his driver. We would have paraded them today (yesterday) but I learned some military men went to the Presidency and they asked the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to tell my boss, the Force PRO not to parade the suspects.”
Why Police did not parade suspects
Meanwhile, Force Public Relations Officer, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Jimoh Moshood, on why the parade was being shifted: “The investigation into the killing of the former, Chief of Defence Staff is being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large. The parade of the two principal suspects and the three other gang members now in Police custody will not come up so as not to jeopardize the on-going investigation.
“All the suspects will be paraded before the media and the public on completion of investigation into the matter. The Nigeria Police Force will not relent nor leave any stone unturned in getting to the root of the killing and bring all perpetrators to justice.”
He, meanwhile, paraded 10 suspects of three armed robbery, kidnapping and car snatching as well as house breaking and burglary gangs who had been terrorizing Abuja-Kaduna-Kano and Edo States.
The suspects are Zaka John 27yrs, Austine Samari 34yrs, Sadiq Abbani 32yrs, Bukur Abann 15yrs, Abdullahi Abdulhamid 19yrs, Mamud Bawa 16yrs, Bawa Garba 30yrs, Samaila Abdullahi, Alqasim Mohammed Umar and Kahlidu Abdullahi.