Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a committee to investigate what it described as “unfortunate killing” of three police intelligence officers in Ibi, Jalingo, Taraba State.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after the closed door meeting, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Siddique Abubakar, said the committee would be constituted under the defence headquarters to unearth the truth about the incident.
“The council also decided that a committee will be set up under the defence headquarters, to critically look into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident,” he said.
The police on Wednesday accused some soldiers of shooting to death three police officers and a civilian along the Ibi-Jalingo Road in Taraba State, as they were taking an arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, to the command’s headquarters in Jalingo.
The police spokesman, Frank Mba, said that despite sufficient proof that they were police personnel on legitimate duty, the soldiers went ahead to shot them, leaving at least three officers dead on the spot.
Police also alleged that several other officers were injured during the attack.
But, the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, countered the police claims, stating that the policemen allegedly refused to stop at a military checkpoint and were trailed and shot dead by troops, who had earlier received a distress call.
He said on August 6, the said Nigerian Army troops, while responding to a distressed call to rescue a kidnapped victim, exchanged fire with the suspected kidnappers along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.
“The suspected kidnappers numbering about 10 and driving in a white bus with Reg No LAGOS MUS 564 EU refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive check points.
“The flagrant refusal of the suspected kidnappers to stop at the three checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit of the fleeing suspects by the troops. It was in this process that the suspected kidnappers, who were obviously armed, opened fire at the troops sporadically, thus prompting them to return fire.
The police and army have set up a joint investigation panel to probe the incident.
Abubakar also said that the council evaluated the current strategy of managing internal security operations all over the country and was satisfied with the current efforts being made by the security agencies to curtail crimes in the country.
He assured that the armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies would continue to work to ensure the security of all.
The air chief added they would also ensure that no individual or group of individuals undermined the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Asked if the council discussed the deployment of technology and drones to fight crimes as earlier pledged to the South West leaders, Abubakar said: “Technology will continue to play a very critical role in resolving security challenges in Nigeria.
“All the services are using one technology or the other in order to ensure that our country is secured.
“So, security will continue to play a role and we are also looking at other areas of technology that are not currently in use to ensure that we put together all that is required to ensure the security of Nigerian and Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, the police have released the names and photographs of the three officers shot dead by soldiers in Taraba state.
In a tweet yesterday, the police released the identities of the men who died in the line of duty. They are Usman Danzumi, a sergeant; Dahiru Musa, a sergeant; and Mark Ediale, an inspector.
Abba Kyari, head of the IRT, said the deceased were responsible for a number of heroic deeds, including securing the arrest of Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, aka Evans, suspected billionaire kidnapper.
He said they were also part of the team that apprehended over 20 members of the Boko Haram insurgent group responsible for the abduction of over 200 students from Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Chibok, Borno State in 2014.
They were also said to have been involved in the arrest of Umar Abdulmalik, a Boko Haram commander suspected to be the mastermind of the bombings in Nyanya and Kuje areas of Abuja in 2015.
Kyari added that they were part of the team that secured the release of Musa Umar, father-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide de camp (ADC), who was kidnapped in May.
“They similarly participated in the arrest of Umar Abdulmalik, overall Boko Haram commander of North Central, Nigeria and several of his group members.
“They arrested the kidnappers of two American and two Canadian citizens in Kaduna State and most recently, they took part in the rescue of Magajin Garin Daura in Kano State during which 13 suspects who carried out the abduction were arrested in Kano, among many other outstanding records of the team,” he said.