By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja—There appears to be no shifting of grounds by the Army and Police over the killing of operatives of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, even after the notorious millionaire kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume, arrested on Monday night in Kano, confessed that he was aided to escape by soldiers that opened fire on the vehicle taking him from Ibbi to Jalingo.
Indication to this effect emerged yesterday, when a top military source described Wadume’s confession as a cooked script to find the Army guilty and media trial by the Police.
The source, who wondered why Wadume, a subject of a presidential investigation, was interrogated without the invitation of any Army representative, also asked why the Police is pre-empting the presidential panel’s investigation?
The source said: “Following the arrest of the millionaire kidnap kingpin and his video broadcast which was released by the Police, certain pertinent questions have become necessary. It is no secret that an all-encompassing Presidential Investigation Committee set up by the Defence Headquarters is currently investigating the allegations of his escape.
“Why have the Police decided to come out with a statement directly accusing the Army before the presidential panel, which is almost concluding investigation, rounds up? What is the rush in pre-empting the panel’s report? And in the [police statement, why was little or no mention made about the major issue; that is the crime of kidnapping which is supposed to be the focus of Alhaji Hamisu Wadume’s arrest?
“Both the Police and the Army are federal institutions with constitutional mandates of ensuring peace, security and fighting criminality in all forms. Aside the initial statement reacting to the Police and the condolence letter to the Inspector-General of Police by the Chief of Army Staff, the Army has kept its cool by not issuing any release or granting any interview since the beginning of the incident.
“It is, therefore, unprofessional and morally wrong for any of the two institutions to resort to unnecessary media trial, sponsoring media attacks and negative commentaries, thereby whipping up sentiments against the other.
“Similarly, the re-arrested criminal, Wadume, should not have been interrogated by the Police alone in a matter over which both organisations are trading blames and subsequent confession made only to one party and the same confession released by the Police.
“As much as Nigerians are happy that the suspect has been re-arrested, there is the tendency that some Nigerians like me would not shy away from wondering if the rush to release such a press statement is pre-arranged and definitely prejudicial.
“It could also be recalled that the Police that have from the beginning accused the Army and made it public that the Army rescued the kidnapper and aided him to escape, are the same Police issuing a statement of exactly the same confession.
“What does the latest confession, which seems like acting a script, seek to achieve at a time synergy among security agencies, particularly the armed forces, the Police and paramilitary outfits, is the watchword and high-powered investigation is still ongoing?”