Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Joint Investigation Panel (JIP) set up by the Defence Headquarters to investigate the killing of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, has said the killing has no political undertone.
The leader of the panel, Maj. Gen. Bamidele Shafa, made the clarification yesterday, while briefing journalists in Abuja.
Shafa said that the attack and killing of the former defence chief in his farm in December, 2018 was purely a criminal case.
He explained that the clarification was in response to the terms of reference given to the panel to ascertain the circumstances that led to the attack and death of Badeh.
He said that 20 persons were involved in the crime, adding that 15 of them had been arrested and had confessed to the crime.
Shafa assured that the fleeing suspects would be apprehended, adding that the attackers used automatic weapons and locally-made guns in the operation, “which was buttressed by the result of the autopsy and weapons recovered from them’’.
He paraded the suspects, including Aliyu Usman a.k.a “Chiroma,’’ 35, who was the leader of the gang; Shuaibu Rabo, 25; and Yahaya Nuhu, 18, before journalists.
Others paraded before the journalists were Musa Muhammed a.k.a Alhaji Lamido Tahara ,45; Ibrahim Abdullahi ,30; and Jibrin Ibrahim, 51.
Shafa said that aside the killing of Badeh, the suspects also admitted that they kidnapped one Joseph Okpetu, who was with late Badeh when he was killed.
According to him, Okpetu was later released after the payment of N2 million ransom.
“The 15 suspects in custody are hereby presented to the public and formally handed over to the appropriate agency for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.
Shafa said that the panel, which comprised 27 members was constituted by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, to take over the investigation in order to ensure thorough and well-coordinated investigation.
He said the panel was coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency while its members were drawn from the Defence Headquarters, Army, Navy, Air Force, Nigeria Police and Department of State Service.
“The panel was assisted by 21 investigators and operatives also drawn from the services and agencies.
“After thorough and exhaustive investigation, the panel made the findings that the attack and killing of Air Chief Marshal AS Badeh (retd) on December 18, 2018, was criminal and does not have any political undertone,” he said.
One of the suspects, Aliyu Usman, told journalists that he was a taxi driver before he was approached by one Alhaji Maube Gaini living in Kare village in Nasarawa State, to attack a “wealthy man” who owned a farm in Panda.
Usman disclosed that he recruited other gang members who later carried out the attack and carted away a black bag containing an unspecified amount of money.
He said that he initially resisted the overture by Maube to engage in the crime, adding that he had never been involved in crime before the killing of Badeh.
“I was a taxi driver before that time when I was asked by Alhaji Maube to arrange for the job but I told him I have never done that before but he assured me that there was no problem.
“After we did the job, I handed over the bag to Maube before we were arrested,” he said.
Another suspect, Shuaibu Rabo, said that he was contacted by Usman that there was a job for him to do, but that he did not know the nature of the job.
Rabo said that he later met other persons arranged by Usman and followed them to the place, adding that when they cited the victim’s car, they opened fire and took away the bag.
He said that was did not know that the victim was the former military chief until he was arrested.