A Joint Investigative Panel comprising representatives of the Defence Headquarters, the police and the Department of State Services, on Wednesday, paraded a 51-year-old suspect, Jibrin Ibrahim, and 14 others for the murder of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
They were paraded at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja.
The suspects, who confessed to the killing, said they 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.
It was gathered that Jibrin was the owner of the SIM cards used in negotiating the ransom for Okpetu.
Apart from Jibrin, the panel identified five of the suspects as Aliyu Usman, Shuaibu Rabo, Yahaya Nuhu, Musa Muhammed and Ibrahim Abdullahi.
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 police had in December 2018 paraded five suspects for Badeh’s murder, including Rabo.
Our correspondent learnt that the five earlier suspects were among the 15 paraded by the joint panel on Wednesday.
The panel paraded the 15 suspects and displayed two AK-47 rifles, two locally-made guns and other weapons allegedly recovered from them.
Badeh was the CDS between January 2014 and July 2015; he had earlier served as the Chief of Air Staff between October 2012 and January 2014.
He was shot dead by gunmen on December 18, 2018, while returning from his farm along the Abuja-Keffi Expressway in Nasarawa State.
Speaking with journalists during the parade, 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 said, “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, noting that efforts were being intensified to apprehend the other members of the syndicate.
Shafa said, “After thorough investigation, the panel made the following findings; one, the attack and killing of ACM
Alex Badeh. was criminal and did not have any political undertone. Two, 20 persons were involved in the crime, out of which 15 have been arrested.
The suspects in custody confessed to their direct involvement in the crime. They employed automatic weapons and locally-made guns in the killing of the air chief marshal. This was buttressed by the result of the autopsy and weapons recovered from the residences of the suspects.
The suspects will be handed over to the appropriate agency for investigation and prosecution.