Wadume: Trial Deadlocked As Military And Police Tussle For Supremacy.

THE Army and the Police appear not to have found a common ground on the trial of suspects implicated in the killing of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) operatives by soldiers in Taraba State on August 6.

Suspected kidnap kingpin Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) was being taken to the Police Command in Jalingo, the state capital, when the operatives were attacked by soldiers believed to be loyal to Wadume.

They freed the kidnap suspect, but he was re-arrested.

The army launched a probe, but some forces are said to be mounting pressure on the authorities to treat the investigative panel’s report as “classified”.

It was learnt that the military has been reluctant to release its officers and men allegedly involved in the attack to the police for trial.

Sources said the police and the military have not found a common ground on how to go about the trial.

It was gathered that the military does not want to subjugate itself to the police, which is statutorily empowered to try the suspects.

Besides Wadume, over 13 other suspects had been under investigation since a ring behind the killings was uncovered.

Sources who know about the army-police rivalry said Wadume and other suspects might not be arraigned soon if the situation is not quickly resolved.

They alleged that some forces do not want the report of the investigative panel released for “security reasons.”

A source: “There seems to be a long silence and unusual delay in charging the suspects to court following refusal by the panel to make the outcome of its investigation public and hand over suspects to the relevant authority for prosecution.

“Efforts made in the past to know the outcome of the panel investigation has proved unsuccessful following refusal by the military and the police to speak on it.

“The military has the suspected officers and men in its custody and the police have the civilian suspects in their custody.

“Both agencies have to come together for the trial to take place. But there appears to be no synergy between them.”

On what was delaying the prosecution, another source said: “The military does not prosecute; it is the police that do.

“All the military needs to do is to hand over suspects to the police. The facts are clear. They are using the instrumentality of the panel to cause unnecessary delay. The question is: why is it taking them so long to investigate?”

Asked why Wadume has not been charged, Force Spokesman Frank Mba said: “The right people to answer that question would be the panel members.

“They do not have powers to prosecute but until they are done with everything, prosecution may not take place.

“I am not a member of the panel and I don’t speak for the panel, so I am unable to speak about the panel, the status of their investigation, the contents of their report, the summary of their recommendations as well as other things relating to their activities.”

On Wadume’s whereabouts, Mba said: “The only thing I can say is that Wadume is in the custody of government security agents but I will not speak as to which agency and as to his location.”

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