By Chuks Ekpeneru
The Board of Inquiry set up to investigate the circumstances that led to the killing of police operatives in Taraba, has identified lack of inter-agency cooperation as cause of the incident.
The board has also recommended that an army officer, Captain Tijani Balarabe alongside two army personnel and three policemen be further investigated on the issue.
The Acting Director Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the seven-man panel had submitted its report to the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin.
Nwachukwu said that Olonisakin has constituted the panel following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari for an immediate investigation into the unfortunate incident.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the troops of Nigerian Army had on Aug. 6 killed three police personnel and two civilians along Ibi-Wukari road in Taraba.
Nwachukwu said that the board of inquiry led by Rear Adm. Ibikunle Olaiya, comprised one representative each from the Defence Headquarters, Nigerian Army (NA), Nigerian Navy (NN) and Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Other members, according to him, are the Defence Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Department of State Service (DSS).
He said that the incident gave rise to serious concern by the federal government, the military and police high command.
According to him, after a thorough and painstaking investigation into the incident, the Board of Inquiry (BOI) in its report to the convening authority observed that there were infractions and poor communication between personnel of the NPF and troops of the NA.
“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 NA and NPF 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 Capt. Tijani Balarabe, Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed, Cpl. Bartholomew Obanye, Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), Ibi Police Division, ASP Aondoona Iorbee, and Insp. Aliyu Dadje for complacency and necessary disciplinary measures.
“It was also recommended that further investigation be conducted on Hamisu Bala for gunrunning and possibly kidnapping, in order to prosecute the suspect,” he said.
The defence spokesperson added that the panel also recommended that the services and other security agencies establish an Interagency Liaison Desk to include senior officers for timely resolution of future misdemeanor.
“The Defence Headquarters once again assures the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are working in synergy to tackle contemporary security challenges bedeviling the nation,” he added.