- Calls for independent inquiry DHQ investigative panel arrives in Jalingo
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
The family of late Inspector Mark Ediale, one of the three policemen killed by soldiers in Taraba State, has called on the federal government to ensure that the killers of the policemen are brought to book.
This is coming as the investigative panel set up by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) to unravel the circumstances that led to the killing of the police arrived in Jalingo, the state capital yesterday in furtherance of their assignment.
Addressing a press conference wednesday in Abuja, the elder brother to one of the slain officers, Mr. Andrew Philip Ediale, said justice must be served.
Ediale was one of the three police detectives shot by soldiers of the 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, while conveying a suspected kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, to the State Police Command Headquarters in Jalingo for interrogation.
The elder brother of the late police officer also called for an independent panel to work with the panel already set up by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
He said failure to bring the culprits to book and ensure that justice was done would amount to conspiracy to sweep the matter under the carpet by the government.
He said: “If the law fails to take its course, it means it is a conspiracy and anything short of this is unacceptable. Inspector Mark Ediale, my late younger brother, and others were on active duty and they swore to protect this country.
“His wife is now a widow, his daughter fatherless and the family is grieving, shattered by this inglorious act. This is an outrage.
“We, therefore, demand that the culprits be brought to justice and that international bodies should get involved. Nothing will be swept under the carpet. We demand justice, whoever the perpetrators may be we want them to go to the full extent of the laws of the land.
“If the law fails to do the needful, we will resolve that it is an act of conspiracy. That must not happen.”
He added that the family was not seeking compensation but justice.
“I do not want that. I did not say I want compensation. I want justice to be served,” he stated.
The widow, Mrs. Olubunmi Ediale, also called for justice to be done on the death of her husband.
“What I want the federal government to do is to give us justice. I want justice from the federal government. I want justice to be served to the fullest,” she said.
The killing of the detectives had drawn wide condemnations from Nigerians. The policemen, who had arrested Wadume and placed him in handcuffs and manacles, had come under a hail of bullets from soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo Road while taking the suspect to Jalingo for interrogation.
Besides Ediale, other members of the team killed were Sergeants Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa. A civilian also died on the spot while two others, who sustained gunshot wounds, later died in the hospital.
Meanwhile, the investigative panel set up by the DHQ to unravel the circumstances that led to the incident arrived Jalingo, in furtherance of their assignment.
Soldiers have also deserted all the checkpoints they had set up and manned at Ibi before the incident.
The panel, headed by Rear Admiral IT Olaiya arrived arrived Danbaba Suntai Airport at about 1. 25 p.m. and headed straight to Taraba Government House where they had a closed-door meeting with Governor Darius Ishaku.
At the commencement of the meeting, the governor directed all the journalists present in the executing chamber to excuse them.
THISDAY gathered that the governor requested the panel not to leave any stone unturned in the discharge of their duties.
Other members of the panel are Brig. Gen. K. Olajide; Brig. Gen. SN Eze, Air Commodore FJ Ogobi; former EFCC boss, AIG Ibrahim Lamorde; a deputy director, A. Hena who represents the Department of State Services (DSS) and the representative of Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Navy Capt. MB Katagum.
The panel is expected to proceed to Ibi today (Thursday) in continuation of their assignment where they are expected to do an on-the-spot assessment, as well as meet with other stakeholders in the town.
Meanwhile, when THISDAY visited Ibi yesterday, all the checkpoints hitherto manned by soldiers of the 93 Battalion, Takum were deserted and were instead manned by the youths of the area.
The town, which usually was a beehive of activities, was a ghost of its former self as it was very sleepy and only few people were seen on the major road in the town.