The Army’s Not Neutral’ : Is The Killing Of Police Operatives In Taraba A Vindication of Gen. Danjuma ?

The Oasis Reporters

August 13, 2019

Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma

March 2018, it was a convocation at the Taraba State University, and elder statesman, Lt. Gen. TY Danjuma, one time Chief of Army Staff and one time Defense Minister thundered over the general insecurity in his home state of Taraba and the Middle belt region in general.
He practically shouted, as far as well bred officers would say, indicting the very institution he spent his best years in. He accused the army of not being neutral in the insurgency and banditry facing them.

Many ridiculed him and felt that he had gone too far.
A year, five months after that famous speech of his, the recent killing of 3 policemen of the Intelligence Response Team in a covert operation in Taraba state by soldiers of the 93 Battalion, occurred.

While the mourning police department were telling their story in tears through their spokesman, Frank Mba, the Army spokesman, Sagir Musa was presenting a contrasting narrative.

As the debate rages on, on who to believe, a commentator opines that
‘the truth however is that General TY Danjuma has finally been vindicated, for
in March 2018 a former Army chief TY Danjuma warned Nigerians to stand up and defend themselves”.

The commentator went on to say that Gen. Danjuma spoke against the backdrop of the increased killings in the Riverine area purportedly by Fulani herdsmen in collusion with army personnel. The General was not only succinct but vehement in his allegations. Predictably the government of the day including its host of supporters particularly social media took on the former Army chief using all sorts of diatribes and uncomplimentary language.

The Nigerian Army authorities not only denied the allegations but raised a panel under the chairmanship of General John Nimyel (rtd) to look into the charges by the former Army chief. While that was playing out leading legal authorities from across the country validated Danjuma’s claims based on constitutional grounds. Despite the fact that the General has been ridiculed and violently opposed what he had asserted has nevertheless become self-evident in full accordance to Mr. Clarke’s dictum that “All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”.

Beyond the denials and multiplicity of lame excuses and speculative justification on a myriad of reasons ranging from lack of inter agency cooperation to narratives and counter narratives the whereabouts of the arrested kidnap kingpin in the attacked police convoy remains a mystery.

With the additional benefit of hindsight General Danjuma was characteristically unequivocal when he declared “The armed forces are not neutral” That coming from an elder statesman with proven track record of national service was supposed to be a wake-up call but this is Nigeria where any meaningful observation or constructive criticism is seen as hostile action.

Far from it. Our nation needs voices of conscience that are beyond partisan sentiments and hero worship. Nigeria is at cross roads we need more Danjumas that would embark on regular national rescue missions.

As for those that want to stand on the truth in our national affairs may they be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King’s warning “Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”

In conclusion the General Nimyel panel gave the army a clean bill of health over their former chief’s emphatic allegations. Did they hear from him to validate his claims? I have my doubts because the day the committee was inaugurated they promised to publicize the findings. Well, its more than a year now and still no report of thefindings in the public domain, ending a post by Dr Ahmed Saleh

The police was said to have released a statement:

Ref No. CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.2/69
Date: 8th August, 2019
The Director of News

The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to the Press Release by the Nigerian Army dated 07 August, 2019,
seeking to justify the unprovoked and
unwarranted murder of three (3) Police
officers and one (1) Civilian, and serious
injury to other operatives, who were on
legitimate criminal investigation activities to Taraba State, to arrest one Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume indicted in a series of high-profile kidnap incidents in the State. In the best tradition of Esprit de Corps, Inter-Agency Harmony and National Interest, the Nigeria
Police Force would naturally have kept quiet, but it has become imperative to set the record straight by addressing the obvious distortion of facts inherent in the Press Release by the Nigerian Army.

The most important question arising from the Nigerian Army Press Release is: Where is Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume? Alhaji Hamisu Bala 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?

Secondly, the Press Release was silent on the source of the alleged distress report or identity of the complainant, on the strength of whose report, the Army claimed had informed their decision to engage in the purported chase and rescue operation.
Needless to state that in the true spirit of
transparency and accountability, the Nigerian Army ought to have arrested the purported distress caller – if any – for obviously and deliberately furnishing them with false and misleading information.

Besides, such arrest should in fact be made public!
Thirdly, it is not true that the Policemen failed to identify themselves as alleged in the Press Release. The video on the incident, now viral, wherein the voice of one of the soldiers was heard loudly proclaiming that the Policemen were from the Force Headquarters, Abuja
speaks volume. Besides, the presence of the IRT personnel was well known to the Taraba Police Command as the Operatives officially and properly documented not only at the
State Command Headquarters but also at the Wukari Area Command and the Ibi Divisional Headquarters. As a matter of fact, some of the Detectives from the Taraba State Command’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were part of the operation.
The Force also considers it insensitive,
disrespectful and unpatriotic for the Press
Release by the Army to continue to describe Policemen on lawful National Assignment as ‘suspected kidnappers’ long after it had become crystal clear to the Army that these are Law Enforcement Officers who unfortunately were gruesomely murdered in the line of duty by Nigerian soldiers attached
to 93 Battalion, Takum.

In the final analysis, we leave the Nigerian
Army authorities to provide Nigerians with
answers on the following questions
emanating from their Press Release:
* Where is the notorious kidnapper, Alhaji
Hamisu Bala Wadume ‘rescued’ by the
* How and why was Alhaji Hamisu Bala
Wadume released by the soldiers?

* How could a kidnap suspect properly
restrained with handcuffs by the Police
escape from the hands of his military
* If Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume is a ‘‘victim of kidnap’’ as claimed, and properly rescued by soldiers, why was he not taken to the Army Base for documentation purposes and
debriefing in line with the Standard Operating Procedure in the Nigerian Army?

* Why were the Police Operatives shot at
close range even after they had identified
themselves as Police Officers on legitimate
duty as evident in the video now in


Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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