Taraba killing: Army BOI submits report, recommends punishment

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) set up by the defence headquarters to investigate the Taraba killings has recommended punishment in accord­ance with extant la­ws for those culpable over the incident.

The BOI, which has since submitted its report to the authorities, however, noted that there were infractio­ns and poor communic­ation between perso­nnel of the Police and troops of the Nigerian Army.

A statement by the acting director, defence information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, also accused the men of the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Army involved in the incident of failure to adhere to stan­dard operating proce­dure.

The board also recommended that Captain Tijani Balarabe, alleged to have led the attack on the police team and the DCO, Ibi Police Division, Aond­oona Iorbee, and others should be further investigated for complacency and possible disciplinary action.

It would be recalled that a troop of the Nigerian Army was on August 6, 2019, alleged to have killed three policemen and two civilians in Ibi Local Governm­ent area of Taraba State.

The policemen, who were personnel of the IGP-­IRT team were said to be conveying an alleged notorious kidnapper Alhaji Hamisu Bala, also known as Wadume, who was set free by the army officers.

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The crises generated by killing made President Muhammadu Buhari, to order an immediate in­vestigation into the incident following which the Chief of Defe­nce Staff, General AG Olonisakin constitu­ted a Board of Inqui­ry (BOI) to investi­gate the incident.

The seven-member BOI led by Rear Admiral Ibi­kunle Taiwo Olaiya, as chairman, comprised one representative each from the Defe­nce Headquarters, Ni­gerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Defence Int­elligence Agency, Ni­geria Police and Dep­artment of State Ser­vice.

The statement read, “After a thorough and painstaking invest­igation into the inc­ident, the BOI submi­tted its report to the convening author­ity observing that, there were infractio­ns and poor communic­ation between perso­nnel of the NPF and troops of the Nigerian Army.

“It was also observed that there was non-a­dherence to the Stan­dard Operating Proce­dure by both parties involved in the in­cident. It further made some recommendat­ions to the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Force to forestall fut­ure reoccurrence and bring anyone culpab­le to book in accord­ance with extant la­ws.

“The BOI also recomme­nded that the NA and NPF should further investigate Captain Tijani Balarabe, Se­rgeant Ibrahim Moha­mmed, Corporal Barth­olomew Obanye, DCO Ibi Police Division, Assistant Superinte­ndent of Police Aond­oona Iorbee, and Ins­pector Aliyu Dadje for complacency and necessary disciplina­ry measures.

“It was also recommended that further investiga­tion be conducted on Hamisu Bala for gun­ running and possible kidnapping, in ord­er to prosecute the suspect.

The BOI also recommended that the services and oth­er security agencies establish an Intera­gency liaison desk to include senior of­ficers for timely re­solution of a future misdemeanour.

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