In the past four months, two retired generals of the Armed Forces of Nigeria were killed on busy highways by criminals and bandits.
The unchecked activities of these criminals and communal clashes have posed unprecedented danger to lives and property across Nigeria.
A former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was killed by gunmen along the Keffi-Gitata Road on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, during an attack on his vehicle while returning from his farm. In a one-minute 30-second confessional video on social media on Thursday, December 27, 2018, a suspect arrested by the police in the killing, Shaibu Rabo, said Badeh was killed in an attack to rob him of money meant for the purchase of a farmland.
Rabo said, “We blocked the road. And some of us were trailing his car. When he reached us, he (Badeh) did not show any intention of turning back. In fact, he acted as if he was going to knock Ciroma down. When Ciroma realised that, he jumped off the road and opened fire on him (Badeh).”
He said they ransacked the vehicle and carried a bag of money in local currency and kidnapped one person from the vehicle.
The spokesman of the Nigeria Police, DCP Jimooh Moshood, said five suspects had been arrested in connection with the murder of the former CDS.
DCP Moshood said the Joint Police Investigation Team, the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Special Tactical Squad arrested two principal suspects and three others in connection with the crime.
He said, “They are now in police custody undergoing investigation. The investigation is being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large. All the suspects will be paraded before the media and the public on completion of investigation into the matter.”
Earlier, in another bizarre highway murder, Maj. Gen. Idris Alkali, who retired as Nigerian Army’s Chief of Administration, was killed in Jos while driving from Abuja to Bauchi.
On September 3, 2018, Gen. Alkali left his Abuja home and was driving to Bauchi. Two days later, on September 5, his wife notified the army that her husband was missing.
On September 29, 2018, the car Gen. Alkali was driving in was recovered at a pond at Paddock in Lafendeg in Plateau State.
On October 3, 2018, 30 suspects were arrested by the army as investigation to unravel what happened to the general intensified.
On October 26, 2018, a shallow grave was discovered where gen. Alkali’s corpse was first buried.
On October 31, 2018, Gen. Alkali’s body was found in an abandoned well in Guchet, Shen of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
According to security analysts, the killing of these top military officers highlighted the appalling state of insecurity in the country.
The deaths have brought to the fore the pains which Nigerians, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger and Kebbi states are suffering in the hands of kidnappers and bandits.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, recently said security lapses aided Gen. Alkali’s death.
Gen. Buratai made this known when he received the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who paid him a condolence visit over the death of Gen. Alkali.
He said, “It has taken us too long to realise this unfortunate situation; that authorities who are supposed to take care of the security of their people and other persons in that area have reneged on their responsibilities. This is one of the outcomes of such irresponsible conduct by certain individuals over the years; it’s good that it has been realised and appropriate steps would be taken to remedy it in the future.
“If we are not decisive, if we don’t take action on such things, the consequences are always grave, and we would also be the victims.”
Gen. Buratai further said, “We have a task force that has been there for several years and such things continue to happen; it should not be allowed at all.
“We have stayed there for too long and situations are getting worse and worse, I think there must be a complete re-evaluation of the security architecture within that environment.”
He added that every criminality across the country must be openly and promptly condemned, noting that silence by leaders signified consent to the actions of the criminals.