Five Months After, Where is Mr Wadume?

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Hamisu Wadume

Eddy Odivwri

A lot of times when I see and experience the glaring cases of injustice, oppression and undue skewing of the justice wheel, I cannot but remember George Orwell’s master piece, Animal Farm, where it is declared that all animals are equal, but some are more equal. Were it not so, what explains the five month silence on the arrested Taraba kidnap kingpin, Mr Hamisu Bala, alias Wadume? Where is he and what is happening?

Here was a man arrested by the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) on August 6, last year, at Ibi, near Takum, in Taraba State having been identified as a notorious kidnapper, who had become stupendously rich from the crime.

The IRT had reported at and documented their operations at the Ibi Police Station before going after Wadume.

They arrested him, and were ferrying him to Abuja, in handcuff, when they got to an army checkpoint mounted by soldiers from 93 Battalion. The soldiers at the checkpoint stopped the 3-man IRT and a civilian. Despite the fact that the team identified itself, the soldiers shot and killed the three policemen and a civilian, went ahead to rescue Wadume. One of the soldiers had taken Wadume to a safe haven, where he got a welder to cut off the handcuff and encouraged Wadume to escape., in what has long been established as classical case of betrayal nurtured by sabotage.

Have we forgotten the case of DSP George Iyamu who aided the armed robbery feats of notorious Lawrence Anini in the defunct Bendel State in the 80’s. They were all sentenced to death. Why is Wadume and co not facing justice? Are they special? Are they sacred cows?

Meanwhile, the soldiers claimed the IRT were kidnappers. It was a smelly scandal against the Nigerian Army.

Two weeks later, the fleeing Wadume was re-arrested at the Layin Mai Hotoro area of Kaduna State.

He had long confessed how the soldiers have been on his pay roll, how some two policemen at the Ibi Police Station—the Divisional Crime Officer, Aondonna Iorbee (a Tiv) and the Station Officer, Inspector Aliyu, had been on his pay roll. Iorbee had called Wadume’s phone over 200 times.

The scandal was so damaging that the President ordered a joint investigative panel headed by Rear Admiral T.I Olaiya.

The panel which comprised representatives from NIA, DIA, Army, Police, DSS, Navy and Airforce had submitted its report since August 31, last year. The Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin was supposed to have studied the report, made recommendations and submit same to Mr President who would take final action.

And that is where the hitch has occurred.

We are not aware if Olonisakin ever submitted the report to Mr President or whether it is Mr President that is sitting on the report.

But two things are clear: One, the three policemen plus a civilian have long been killed by Wadume’s allies in the Nigerian Army. Two, Wadume is in custody of the police, being fed by tax payers’ money.

It is bad enough that the IRT operatives died in the course of lawful duty, but it is doubly wrong and offensive that their killers are being romanced by nauseating bureaucracy.

So what is behind this silence and inaction against a man who had caused the death of three officers of the law plus a civilian? Would those people die in vain? This does not even include the people Wadume may have directly killed during his criminal/kidnap venture.

Is Wadume being protected and shielded by some powerful forces in government? Is this part of President Buhari’s legendary inertia on urgent matters?

The Police had threatened to dismiss ASP Iorbee and Inspector Aliyu. That is where it is. Mere threat. The duo have not been dismissed.

The army has not even said anything about their men who not only aided and abetted the serious crime of kidnapping, but also and indeed, shot and killed innocent people on lawful duty. What kind of double standard is this?

One of the implications of this worrisome silence is that policemen still in service will be discouraged to do their best to combat crime, knowing that if they die in the process, they will literally die in vain. This is as despicable as it is depressing. Nigerians are looking forward to hearing the verdict on Wadume and his criminal allies in the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police and all such other crooks. Justice delayed, is justice denied.