Molly Kilete, Abuja
The presidential panel set up to investigate the killing of three police officers from the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and two civilian by soldier in Taraba State has identified lack of inter-agency cooperation, non-adherence to Standard Operating Procedure and poor communication by both the police and the army for the brutal act.
The committee made the submission in its report in a statement signed by the acting Director Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachuku, in Abuja.
Troops of the Nigerian Army had on August 6 killed three police personnel and two civilians along Ibi-Wukari road in Taraba.
The incident had sparked public outrage and gave rise to serious concern by the Federal Government, the military and police high command. Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin had constituted the panel following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari for an immediate investigation.
Nwachukwu said the board of inquiry led by Rear Adm. Ibikunle Olaiya, comprised one representative each from the Defence Headquarters, Nigerian Army (NA), Nigerian Navy (NN), Nigerian Air Force (NAF), the Defence Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Department of State Service (DSS).
He said after a thorough and painstaking investigation into the incident, the Board of Inquiry (BOI) in its report to the convening authority observed that there were infractions and poor communication between personnel of the Nigeria police and troops of the Nigeria Army.
“It was also observed that there was non-adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure by both parties involved in the incident.
“It further made some recommendations to the NA and NPF to forestall future reoccurrence and bring anyone culpable to book in accordance with extant laws.
“The BOI also recommended that the NA and NPF should further investigate Capt. Tijani Balarabe, Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed, Cpl. Bartholomew Obanye, Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), Ibi Police Division, ASP Aondoona Iorbee, and Insp. Aliyu Dadje for complacency and necessary disciplinary measures. It was also recommended that further investigation be conducted on Hamisu Bala for gunrunning and possibly kidnapping, in order to prosecute the suspect,” he said.
The defence spokesperson added that the panel also recommended that the services and other security agencies establish an Interagency Liaison Desk to include senior officers for timely resolution of future misdemeanour.
“The Defence Headquarters once again assures the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are working in synergy to tackle contemporary security challenges bedevilling the nation.”