Molly Kilete, Abuja
The joint investigative panel set up by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Abuja, to probe the killing of four police officers and one civilian by soldiers in Taraba State, will today; submit its report to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin.
This is even as Daily Sun gathered that the seven-man panel, comprising personnel from the army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and the DIA, has raised suspicion over the alleged confession of the man at the centre and kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala Wadume, in a video released by the police force headquarters, Abuja.
The panel, which commenced its sitting in Taraba State, where it interviewed all those involved in the gruesome act, relocated to Abuja, last week to conclude its hearing.
The panel interviewed the three police officers alleged to have played a role in the killing of their colleagues, as well as the re-arrested Wadume, who was taken to the venue by personnel of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
It was gathered that the outcome of the report, which is expected to be submitted today, may indict the role played by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) and the Station Crime Officer (SO), respectively.
Sources close to the panel told Daily Sun that members of the panel encountered difficulties accessing the police suspects, who were transported from Taraba to Abuja by the authorities before the panel members got to the state.
It was gathered that the police authorities also made it difficult for the panel members to have access to the suspects, who allegedly connived with the army captain to kill the IRT officers.
Sources further revealed that investigation by the panel showed that one of the police officers actually provided the keys to the leg chain and hand cuffs on Wadume after he was rescued from the IRT operatives.
However, the police were said to have countered the claim, insisting that the keys to both the leg and the hand cuffs are with them. The coming days are bound to be interesting as the outcome of the report may throw the two security agencies to open debate.
It was gathered that the two agencies are waiting for the final report of the panel to be made public before they would begin the cold war.
On the fate of Captain Balarabe Tijani, Daily Sun gathered that he is not the Commanding Officer of 93 Battalion, Takum, as being speculated. It was gathered that an officer in the rank of a Major, is the commanding officer of that battalion and not Captain Tijani.
It was also gathered that the captain, who is now in detention in one of the military detention facilities at Ibi, after being interviewed by the panel, would be moved to Yola, which is the headquarters of the brigade in the area.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian army authorities have made arrangement to move all the soldiers who participated in the killings of the police officers. The suspects, Daily Sun gathered, would be moved to the brigade headquarters in Yola, from where they would be moved to Jos, Plateau State, the headquarters of the 3 Division, which is the mother unit of the brigade.
Pending the recommendations of the panel, it is expected that a Board of Inquiry (BoI), would be constituted to investigate the matter in preparation for a General Court Martial (GCM) and if found guilty, the culprits risk life sentence.
It was also gathered that aside Captain Tijani, who ordered the killing of the police officers, other personnel mentioned by Wadume have been picked up and they have made useful confessional statements to the panel.
Meanwhile, the killing of the police officers have continued to draw condemnation from both the military, police and the public, who are awaiting the report of the panel to be made public.