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Police Killing: DHQ Panel Probes Soldiers’ Bank Statements

The Defence Headquarters’ Joint Investigative Panel probing the killing of three policemen in Ibi, Taraba State, has yet to submit its report because it is still analysing the bank transactions of the soldiers arrested, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

The panel constituted on President Muhammadu Buhari’s instructions on August 9, met on Friday and continued the collation of evidence obtained from the bank statements of the soldiers under investigation for their alleged roles in releasing a kidnap suspect, Hamisu Wadume, when he was being driven to Jalingo from Ibi after his arrest by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.

The panel is expected to submit its report to the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin, and its failure to do so is said to be delaying the trial of Captain Tijjani Balarabe, and others who have been in detention since the first week of August.

Our correspondent reported on Friday that the trial of culpable soldiers might not begin until the first week of September.

The panel headed by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Olaiya has been meeting at the Defence Intelligence Agency, Abuja, during which they cross-examined the soldiers, police, civilians and the rearrested Wadume.

A source had disclosed that the seven-man panel’s report indicted some soldiers who face a court-martial and likely dismissal, “going by their level of culpability”.

An authoritative source confirmed on Friday that one of the issues delaying the report was the analysis of the bank statements of the suspects which would be “undeniable proof of their culpability or otherwise”.

He said, “The panel is not done with the bank statements of the soldiers obtained from several banks and which have to be analysed. This is one of the reasons why the panel has yet to submit its report.

“The evidence has to be factual and concrete, so that the authorities can have a solid case during its court-martial. This is because if the trial of the soldiers is not properly done, they can appeal at a general court, which can overrule the panel. The panel has a responsibility, not only to the CDS, but also to the President. Whatever they turn in is believed to be the position of the entire Nigerian military. That is a huge assignment. They are only trying to be thorough.”


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