Abuja – The police are not appeased by the composition of the panel set up to probe the recent killing of undercover policemen in Taraba State by a military patrol team, Daily Independent has learnt.
Security sources told Daily Independent that the police are still angry over the way the killing incident has so far been handled.
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According to the sources, the police have expressed anxiety over the fact that the panel was headed by the same military whose operatives perpetrated the killings, making them a judge in their own case.
It was gathered that the police would have preferred a neutral body to inquire into the circumstances that led to the killing of the police operatives so that justice would be done to appease the dead.
However, the DHQ, through Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Director of Defence Information (DDI), told Daily Independent that there was no need for anyone to be afraid or doubt the integrity of the panel, assuring that it would be very thorough in its investigation and do justice to all parties.
Colonel Nwachukwu urged all spokespersons of the various services to put away sentiment and desist from further statements on the matter, while the panel continued with its investigative assignment.
He said the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin, was the convening authority of the investigative panel, therefore, the investigation could not be treated with levity.
“No stone will be left unturned. Expectedly, it is going to be thorough. We will not pre-empt the outcome of the panel. We shall wait patiently for them to turn in their report to the convening authority.
“We will get to the root of the matter and the culprits will be punished. Machinery has been put in place to bring all those culpable to book.
“We urged all spokespersons of the services and are still urging them to ceasefire on this issue and allow the investigative panel to do a thorough job.
“We don’t want any of these discussions from spokespersons anymore. We urge officers and men of all the services, military and police, to exercise a lot of decorum and avoid being confrontational,” DHQ warned.
Col. Nwachukwu said whether military or paramilitary, their common goal was to achieve peace and sustainable national security, which is most important to the country.
“We must bridle our tongues not to indict anybody until the joint investigative panel comes out with its findings,” the army spokesman said.
Speaking on the escaped suspected kidnapper, Hamisu Bala, the DHQ said its dragnet had been spread across the nooks and crannies of the region to arrest him, vowing that he would be smoked out of his hiding.
Regardless, there has been renewed tension in the Nigerian military over the alleged plans by the police to revenge the killing of its anti-kidnapping operatives.
Recently, the army was alleged to have given coded directives to its personnel to be watchful against possible reprisal attacks by the police and to wear mufti as a means of disguise where necessary.
Sources at the headquarters disclosed that the army had been very worried over the planned reprisal attack by the police.
Disturbed by this, the DHQ has pleaded with the warring factions to sheathe their swords in view of the ongoing investigation into the matter by President Muhammadu Buhari, assuring the police that the outcome of the investigation would heal wounds.
It would be recalled that police operatives, who were taking one Alhaji Hamisu, a suspected kidnap kingpin, to the Force Command Headquarters in Jalingo, Taraba State capital, were severally shot at by soldiers despite sufficient proof that they were police personnel on legitimate duty, Frank Mba, police spokesperson, Force Headquarters, said.
The development, he said, led to the death of three of the police operatives, and serious injuries to other police personnel, who were carrying out investigative activities at Ibi, Taraba State, to arrest the said Alhaji Hamisu. It also resulted in the death of one civilian.
Hamisu, who the police said had been indicted in a series of high-profile kidnap incidents in the state, was thereafter released by the soldiers, as the police had him held in handcuffs at the time.
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