Wadume: Why no soldier was arraigned — Investigation
Hamisu Wadume

…No comment — Army

By Kingsley Omonobi

Following the inability of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the prosecutor to produce 10 soldiers, including Capt. Tijjanni Balarabe, to face trial in the killing of three policemen and two civilians attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response team, Vanguard has gathered that the soldiers are yet to be either court-martialed or dismissed to face trail in a civil court.

The Armed Forces Act states that a soldier can only be allowed to stand trial in a civil court if he/she is found culpable of an offence, tried and dismissed from the Army.

However, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said when contacted for his response:  ‘’I cannot comment on a matter that is in court.  It may look like contempt of court or prejudicial.’’

The IRT men and the two civilians were killed on August 6, 2019, by the soldiers who allegedly freed millionaire kidnapping kingpin, Hamisu Bala, aka Wadume.

READ ALSO: Wadume: Police bid to take case to Buhari

According to investigations, both the Nigerian Army and the Defence Headquarters set up panels of enquiry after the incident occurred but none of the panels found the soldiers wanting.

A source told Vanguard that there were three checkpoints on the road on the day of the incident, noting that by the time a distress call reached the Commander, Capt. Tijjanni, that Wadume had been kidnapped, and the vehicle carrying him, with armed men had passed the first and second checkpoints, the soldiers at the third checkpoint were ordered to stop the vehicle.

Another issue was that the military location or officers in charge were not communicated that policemen or any other security agency personnel were coming to arrest any suspect in Takum, neither were the policemen dressed in uniform nor was the vehicle painted in Police colour.

Based on the order, soldiers who were on high alert when they saw the vehicle approaching on top speed with full headlights on, shot at the tyre to disable the vehicle, before the car somersaulted.

A source said the soldiers at the checkpoint didn’t even know who Wadume was because everybody was in mufti.

‘’It was when they took the occupants to the military location that the people who lodged the complaint recognized Wadume as the person that was kidnapped.

Citing several instances, the source said the Nigerian Army does not condone indiscipline, involvement in criminality or connivance with criminals, saying if such happened and the soldier was caught, he was made to face court martial, and dismissed.

According to the source, this is when the Army will hand over the dismissed personnel to the police for civil prosecution.

“In the case of Wadume, the military has not tried or court martialed any soldier and no soldier or officer has been dismissed,” the source said.

Asked if there are plans to send the 10 soldiers to face a military court martial, the source said he was not aware of such a plan, noting that the military sets up a court martial when the evidence was glaring and overwhelming for all to see.

It will be recalled that 10 soldiers attached to the 93 battalion in Takum, Taraba state, allegedly helped millionaire kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu aka Wadume to escape from policemen who were taking him to Jalingo, after he was arrested at Ibi town.

The troops led by Capt. Tijjanni Balarabe allegedly killed three policemen and two civilians, with five other policemen sustaining injuries during the incident. Those killed are Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Dahiru Musa, Owolabi Babajide, Farouk Bashir and Usman Danazumi.

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