Wadume: Nigeria Police and Media Trial

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The arrest of the Taraba kidnap kingpin Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume is no longer news but most worrying is the manner with which the operatives of the Inspector General’s Intelligence Response Team IRT went about posting selfies all over the social media with the culprit. One will think their aim is the media hype and frenzy they currently enjoy which in itself defers from the actual prosecution of not this case but other high profile cases that have gone unsolved in the hands of the police.

In the wake of the Wadume saga, the actions of the Nigerian Police clearly demonstrated lack of proper coordination with other security agencies which left a lot to be desired. It even threw open pertinent questions like, – Where is the notorious kidnapper Hamisu Bala Wadume ‘rescued’ by soldiers? To the public which again propped the Nigerian populace against its Army to the point that the Army authorities had to issue safety guidelines to her troops in case they find themselves in mostly police dominated environment for fear of their own lives.

Again, it reopened a deepening strife between Nigeria’s security agencies when the police declared that the Nigerian Army has killed some of its officers and freed a kidnap suspect. It was however wrong for the police to continue seeking public sympathy at the expense of proper investigation to unravel the crux of the matter especially when a presidential panel has been constituted to get to the root of the matter.

To me, the police were quite hasty in some of their unguarded utterances which actually is capable of not just creating inter-agency rivalry but pitching the Nigerian public against its Army. This is evident in all the comment threads on social media where the public took the Army to the cleaners at a time when the Army is being praised for degrading the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency while it continues a major onslaught against the Islamic State in the West African Province (ISWAP).

Although one cannot completely exonerate those elements of the Nigerian Army under whose jurisdiction the crime was committed but to sway public sentiment against the Nigerian Army is to say the least since their actions do not represent the position of the Nigerian Army.

In his confession, the notorious billionaire kidnapper, Hamisu Wadume alleged that soldiers aided his escape on August 6 after he was arrested by police detectives. In the 41-seconds video, Wadume, who spoke in Hausa, said: “I am Hamisu Bala also known as Wadume. The police came to Ibi and arrested me.

“After arresting me, they were taking me away when soldiers went after them and opened fire and some policemen were killed.
“From there the soldiers took me to their headquarters and cut off the handcuffs on my hands and I ran away.

“Since I ran away, I have been hiding until now that the police arrested me.” He alleged.
The so called confession by rearrested kidnapper leaves me with the following questions; Why now and why no mention of the act he committed kidnapping was not focused at? Why the interrogation and subsequent confession made to the police and released to the press by the police? Or could it be pre-arranged? Why have the police continued releasing information and making commentaries on an issue under presidential investigation?

The Police have since, right from the beginning accused the Army, made it public that personnel of the Nigerian Army rescued and aided him to escape. Anyone who is critical enough would conclude that the latest confession is like acting an already made script.

The police must understand that the circumstances leading to the death of the officers and the civilian in Ibi is currently under a presidential panel hence further statements designed to sway the public will not only be counterproductive but capable of escalating an already tensed situation. Proper coordination of operations must a focus among Nigerian security agencies going forward. The Army on its part must identify and bring all the culprits to book since they acted on their own and their actions do not represent the position of the Nigerian Army.

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