The high profile murder of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh came too cheaply. It has set tongues wagging with many insinuations, prompting Ahamefula Ogbu to ask who killed him
Conspiracy theories and speculations are rife and appear to be the only things Nigerians can hold on to over the shocked killing of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. Although the Nigerian Air Force, his force of primary enlistment has vowed that they were already making progress in unravelling his killers, the long list of unresolved violent murders across the country make the promise a near hot air until proved otherwise. However the ability of the Army to resolve the murder of General Idris Alkali might make such vow to hold a promise.
Latest information on the incident has it that he was killed by men in uniform who set up a road block along his route which was dismantled after gun shots were heard in the evening announcing the killing of the former Defence Chief make it appear either as accidental discharge or outright targeted killing for which many tend to tag an assassination. Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security agencies to fish out perpetrators of the heinous act.
The former CDS was pumped with hot lead on December 18 while returning from his farm in Keffi, Nassarawa State when his car was attacked, his driver who was presumed killed in the attack is said to be recuperating in an Air Force facility while his farm manager was reportedly kidnapped raising the issue of how such high profile Nigerian could have been easily taken out. His killing has provided politicians with an opportunity to use it to their political ends as fingers are pointing in different directions in blames and justifications.
The killing was further complicated by the non-removal of any of the personal effects of the late General.
Conundrums that agitate the mind are whether full compliment of the security he was entitled to as a former CDS was provided and whether soft body cars were supposed to be his official issue? Others include if Badeh on his own will, dropped the armoured car he was supposed to be driving in as well as dropped the security personnel that were supposed to protect him.
President Buhari had while condemning the brutal murder of Badeh as “very sad and unfortunate”, directed security agencies to quickly find the killers and bring them to book. He also regretted that the killing signposted the hazards which road users were exposed to and charged those under whose purview stopping the trend rested on to up their ante and ensure safety of Nigerians everywhere.
Official position of both the Air Force and the Defence Headquarters are to the effect that his security details were not withdrawn while sources claim that his security was withdrawn which he wrote to protest before he was cut down.
Most of the suspicions appear to gain traction from the fact that he was out of favour with the present administration as he was docked for graft on alleged diversion of billions in local and foreign currencies with which he was alleged to have bought properties and made other illicit investments
The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, through its Public Relations and Information officer, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola has tagged most positions on the killing as “misinformation” and charged people to stop henceforth as such could adversely affect the outcome of their investigations and ongoing operations.
”Other reports allege that adequate security was not provided for the deceased Air Chief Marshal.
”The NAF wishes to state categorically that nothing could be further from the truth.
”Firstly, all are please requested to note that the driver is alive and recuperating extremely well at one of our NAF Hospitals.
”Secondly, Air Chief Marshal Badeh has always been provided with the full compliment of personal staff and security personnel commensurate with his status as a former Chief of the Air Staff, CAS, CDS and a 4-star general in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
”As mentioned by the CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Dec. 19, the NAF is working closely with other relevant security agencies to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of the former CDS with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators of the heinous act are brought to justice.
”Substantial progress has already been made in the ongoing investigation and details would be communicated at the appropriate time.
”The NAF wishes to request that the spreading of misinformation about the incident should stop forthwith as this could have adverse effects on the conduct of ongoing operations,” NAF stated. The killing which reverberated across the country made the upper legislative chamber to tag it an assassination and charged the security agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident as well as ensure the rescue of the kidnapped farm manager.
Senator Shehu Sani, on the floor of the Senate said, “Badeh served his country from the beginning to the end, meritoriously. It is sad that he is a victim of assassination. He was killed few kilometers from the state capital. The state has failed Badeh. We should take the issue of security serious. He is a victim of an assassination.
“This should bring to light a national discourse. If this can happen to Alex Badeh, it can happen to anybody. It is an addition to the cases of unresolved assassination. The state must take this issue very seriously. We owe him a duty to ensure that such a thing never happen again. The security agencies should deploy necessary security technologies to fish out the killers.”
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu regretted that: “The killers might never be found because this is not the first time we would have such incidence. The time has come for us to ensure that assassins are found.
“Abuja, the FCT is becoming unsafe for the residents. We must ensure that all the CCTV are working in memory of Badeh and ensure that the killers are found.”
Senate President, Bukola Saraki concluded that, “we need to do more in the area of security. Necessary measures must be taken to ensure that lives and properties are protected.”
The Peoples Democratic Party in its official reaction blamed the general failure of security and progress in the country for the murder, pointing out that life had become cheap “under the incompetent and insensitive Buhari administration.”
“The PDP therefore demands a wide-ranging investigation into the killing to unravel those behind the dastardly act as well as the motive behind their action. The party recalls the killing of former Chief of Army Administration, Major General Idris Alkali, in Plateau State as well as the horrific murder of over 100 of our gallant soldiers in Melete, Borno State, by insurgents and stated that President Buhari has failed woefully as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“PDP insists that our nation is drifting and gradually assuming the status of a failed state and urges President Buhari to spend the few months left of his administration to provide a leadership that will secure respect for our territorial integrity and the lives of our people. Our party notes further that the failure of President Buhari is whittling the confidence of the citizens in our nationhood. The PDP describes ACM Badeh as a fine and patriotic officer, who made various sacrifices towards the security, unity and stability of the nation, particularly as the Chief of Defence Staff, adding that his killing is a monumental loss to the nation. The party condoles the Badeh family, the Government and people of Adamawa State and prays God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss, while urging our security forces to immediately swing into action and leave no stones unturned until the killers are brought to book,” Ologbodiyan said.
Former Aviation Minister Spokesman of Atiku Campaign Organisation was more vitriolic in his reaction alleging that the killing of Badeh was a pure assassination of man “targeted and vilified” before his murder; insinuating that it was due to his “courageous and unrelenting critic of tyranny, injustice and ethnic and religious subjugation till the end.”
According to Fani-Kayode, “He knew many of the Buhari government’s excesses and secrets, he worked quietly against them from behind the scenes and, by his numerous actions and interventions, he saved the lives of many of his Middle Belt people.
“Those that were behind his assassination know who they are. They shall not escape justice and they will pay a terrible price for their wickedness. His assassination is a debt that will be repaid by God and the people no matter how long it takes.”
He insisted that though investigations were yet to be concluded, he would not accept that it was a “random and isolated”, as it was “too convenient” to aid covering of the tracks of the perpetrators
“For example, how come a former Chief of Defence Staff and a former Chief of Air Staff did not have any military personnel or security details guarding and protecting him? This is especially so given the fact that it appears that he was on a long distance drive on a road which has proved to be dangerous in the early hours of the evening.
“Badeh was entitled to that level of protection by virtue of his position as a former Chief of Defence Staff. How come he was denied it? Who withdrew his men? Who wanted him to be alone with just his driver on that journey? Who wanted him dead?
“There are many other questions which we shall ask at the appropriate time. And one day we shall get the answers.
“Meanwhile, I add my voice to those who have called for an independent and public commission of enquiry into this courageous and noble soul’s brutal assassination.
“With his murder it is clear that, under Buhari, ours is a nation of not just ethnic and religious cleansing but also a nation of political cleansing,” Fani-Kayode charged.
He claimed an insider who wished to remain anonymous sent the following to him: “Air Chief Alex Badeh the former Chief of Defence Staff who called the Nigerian President, Mohammadu Buhari a “religious bigot” to his face was assassinated yesterday after he had threatened to expose the government over its involvement with Boko Haram prior to removing Jonathan. Just before he left office, he visited Maiduguri in a covert operation and ran into some top members of the current day government as they were coming out of a meeting with Boko Haram Commanders at the Nigerian Army underground Armory which was seized by Boko Haram. He ordered his boys not to open fire but took pictures which he refused to hand over to the government when he was retired. He raised the alarm first week in November 2018 when two hooded men tried to break into his Asokoro house but DSS played it down. He was assassinated in cold blood by unknown gun men one month later”.
Though he admitted that, “I cannot confirm the veracity of some of these assertions”, he continued, “but two things are self-evident. Firstly that he was indeed murdered on December 18th and secondly that there is a dimension to this matter that few are familiar with.
“Yet whatever we choose to believe or choose not to believe we must always remember the following: theirs is an ancient and hegemonic agenda and it is as real today as it was 58 years ago when we won our independence from the British.
“First it was Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, the Fleet Commander of the Western Naval Command, who reports suggest was conducting an investigation into secret arms sales to Boko Haram that was assasinated.
“Then it was ex-Military Intelligence Chief and the former Director of Administration of Defence Headquarters, General Alkali, who was privy to a lot of damning information that was assasinated.
“Then it was the ex-Chief of Defence Staff under whose leadership Boko Haram was annihilated, Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh, that has been assasinated.
“All three of these worthy and noble warriors and sons of Nigeria were murdered in the last one year and all three had quite a story to tell about what was really going on in certain circles in our country! I urge our people to ponder on this and to think, think and think again!
“The cabal is very much in control, the game is on and the next few months will be a rough ride. Yet no matter what comes our way one thing is clear: God is still on the throne and all power belongs to Him.”
However, there could be another angle to it. As one who may have been involved in arms purchases for the nation, was he killed by a deal gone sour? Till the real perpetrators of the murder are arrested and brought to book, the question will keep resonating, who killed Alex Badeh?