A Joint Investigative Panel comprising representatives of the Defense Headquarters, the police and the Department of State Services, on Wednesday, paraded 15 suspect in connection with the killing of a former Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
Reportedly, the suspects, confessed to the killing of the former Chief of Defense Staff. They also collected N2m ransom before releasing Badeh’s friend, Joseph Okpetu, who was in the same vehicle with the former defence chief and was abducted by the hoodlums.
Among the suspects paraded at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja is Jibrin Ibrahim, a 51 year old man whose SIM card was used to negotiate the ransom, and some other five suspects earlier paraded by the police in December 2018.
The suspects were arrested by the joint panel, which was set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, and coordinated from the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
The 15 suspects were paraded amidst a displayed of two AK-47 rifles, two locally-made guns and other weapons allegedly recovered from them.
Alex Badeh was the Chief of Defense Staff between January 2014 and July 2015. He also served as the Chief of Air Staff between October 2012 and January 2014.
Along the Abuja-Keffi Expressway in Nasarawa State, he was murdered by gunmen on December 18, 2018, while returning from his farm.
Usman, also known as Chiroma, said to be the gang leader, confessed that seven of them attacked Badeh, whom they assumed to be a wealthy man and not a retired military officer.
He narrates: “It was a Friday and I came to the Gitata Market; I was the one who brought the job to the gang. I am a taxi driver. So, while I was driving to Panda village, in Nasarawa State, one Alhaji Maube Gani told me that there was one wealthy man, who owned a farm in that area and that we could make money from him. I told him I had never attacked any person in my life, but he said I should not worry.
“Then later on December 18, I drove my car out and Alhaji called me that the man had come to his farm as usual and that we should come to attack him. So, I called the other members and we met Alhaji in the Gitata area.
“At that stage of the operation, I did not know Badeh’s identity; none of us knew that the man was a military officer. There were seven of us, who participated in the operation. We just got to the road, shot the man and took away his friend.”
The Chairman of the Joint Investigation Committee, Maj. Gen. Bamidele Shafa, said 20 suspects had been identified, out of whom 15 had been arrested. He added that efforts have been carried out to ensure the remain 5 are caught.
He noted that the murder of the former Chief of Staff was not politically motivated and that the suspects will be handed over to appropriate agency for investigation and prosecution.