Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The video of the purported confession of kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, who was re-arrested by the police in Kano on Monday has unsettled the Joint Investigation Panel set up by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) to probe the killing of policemen by soldiers of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Takum, Taraba State.
Wadume, in the video posted on the police twitter handle, had given details of how soldiers aided his release by cutting off his handcuff and setting him free after he was initially arrested by police.
Wadume had said: “My name is Hamisu Bala Wadume. Police came to arrest me. When they arrested me, army chased after them and opened fire.
“From there, they took me to their headquarters, and cut my handcuffs. I went back to my house and police came to re-arrest me.”
THISDAY gathered that Wadume’s video confession has unsettled the panel in view of the fact that the investigation was still ongoing.
The military high command is also said to be uncomfortable with Wadume’s video.
Following this development, the Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, yesterday convened an emergency meeting of the Forum of Spokesperson of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA).
But Nwachukwu, in a chat with THISDAY said the emergency meeting was not tied to the video comments of Wadume but a normal meeting of spokespersons of the agencies to promote synergy among security agencies.
However, intelligence sources close to the panel said the panel was alarmed at Wadume’s video in view of the fact that investigation was in progress.
The source said: “We are seriously disturbed and alarmed by the latest video on the purported confession of the re-arrested kingpin, Wadume while in the custody of the police.
“Though it is a commendable effort for the re-arrest of the kidnap kingpin, the video recording of the alleged confession of Wadume while the panel is still conducting its investigation is quite worrisome as efforts are being put in place to ensure smooth relations between the military and the police before the offending confession.”
The source further stated: “Though our panel was inaugurated on Friday, August 9 which had an initial one-week deadline, we have been mandated to continue and conclude the probe as soon as possible. The arrest of Wadume would definitely shed more light on our investigation considering the volume of arrests and interrogations so far.”
However, Nwachukwu said the panel would look at the video as part of its investigation and reach a conclusion.
He said it was important not to distract the panel from doing its job.
Nwachuku said: “I have seen the video and my position is that we should allow the joint investigation panel to do a thorough job. We should not distract them. Whatever evidence or suspect should be made available to them.
“I assure you that they are going to get to the root of this matter. They are going to unravel the issues around the incident. If the video is there, the joint investigation panel will look at it. They are going to look at all those things and interrogate the suspects as the case may be.
“All these things would be made available to the joint investigation panel and they will make their findings and reach their conclusions. The most important thing is to allow them to do a thorough job. It is important for national security.”
Meanwhile in an invitation notice to the spokespersons of the member agencies, Nwachukwu said “the special meeting is sequel to a decision reached at the meeting of CDS with Service Chiefs and Head of Security and intelligence agencies on the need for spokesperson/directors of information to hold regular meeting to harmonise positions and address joint press conferences to inform the public on efforts of security agencies in addressing security challenges in the country and other relevant issues.”
FOSSRA has 17 member-agencies in the military, security, response, and intelligence service.