By Kingsley Omonobi & Ifeanyi Okolie
ABUJA — No fewer than 25 military and police personnel have been arrested in connection with the killing of three policemen in the IGP Intelligence Response Team, IRT, and a civilian by soldiers in Taraba State, following the arrest of a kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume, who was allegedly set free by the soldiers.
They were said to be in collusion with the kidnap kingpin in his kidnapping business, which had reportedly fetched him millions of naira.
This is even as the Joint Investigation Committee set up by the Defence Headquarters on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the killing of the police officers sits today to question representatives of the police and the military in Taraba today.
According to a source, Wadume maintained and oiled a machinery of security operatives, including police and military personnel from across Taraba State which fed him with information on movements and location of victims for kidnapping.
They were also said to have fed the kidnap kingpin with dossiers of those capable of paying ‘good’ ransom as well as possible hideouts and escape routes.
It was gathered that through tracking and interception facilities, investigators were able to discover conversations which gave out the roles of both the police and military personnel who had roles to play for the kingpin.
The source added that it was for these reasons that the kidnap kingpin was able to elude several attempts by the police authorities to arrest him in the many years that he has been on their wanted list.
“I can tell you that over 20 military and police personnel have been arrested since this investigation started. They gave the kingpin coverage all these years the police have been looking for him. This is the reason it has taken this long to get him,” said the source who pleaded anonymity.
It was also gathered that the investigating committee would meet in Taraba to question representatives of the military and police on the killing today.
Vanguard learned that police and military officers to defend their agencies left for Taraba last night.
They are to appear before the committee and give account of what actually transpired on the day the IRT personnel were killed.
Admiral Olaiya heads JIP
It would be recalled that the Joint Investigation Panel, headed by Rear Admiral IT Olaiya, a former Director of Naval Intelligence, also has as members a representative each from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Service, DSS, and the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA.
Disclosing the formation of the panel last week, the Defence Headquarters through a statement by Col Onyema Nwachukwu, Acting Director, Defence Information, had said: “In compliance with the presidential directive issued by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, has constituted a 7-man Joint Investigation Panel to unravel the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident between the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police allegedly resulting in the killing of three personnel of the Nigeria Police and a civilian along Ibi-Wukari road in Taraba State.
“The Joint Investigation panel is headed by Rear Admiral IT Olaiya and has a representative each from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, the Nigeria Police, Department of State Service and the Defence Intelligence Agency.”
The killing of the IRT members, including ASP Felix Adolije, who led the team, Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeants Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa as well as a civilian, Olajide Owolabi, sparked off national outrage, with family members, individuals and groups calling on the Federal Government to ensure justice was done on the matter.