Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Air Force investigating the murder of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, have been cross-examining the security detail and workers of the former CDS as investigation into his murder continues.
A top military source told our correspondent on Friday that the security detail attached to the former CDS underwent “very strict confidential interrogations” even as the mobile phones and contacts of the former CDS were reportedly being analysed.
The NAF also said late on Thursday that it had made “substantial progress” in arresting the killers of Badeh, confirming that the former CDS was given the full compliments of security personnel commensurate with his status as a four-star general in the Armed Forces of Nigeria, until his death.
This confirms the report that security men were with Badeh on Tuesday when he was shot dead at Tudu-Uku on Gitata-Keffi Road while returning from his farm located in the Panda Development Area of Karu Local Government Area of the state.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the Air Force was working closely with other relevant security agencies to determine the circumstances surrounding Badeh’s death with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
Daramola said, “We wish to state categorically that the driver is alive and recuperating extremely well at one of our NAF Hospitals. Substantial progress has already been made in the ongoing investigation and details would be communicated at the appropriate time.
“You expect that the security detail have some questions to answer in this matter. They have to explain everything they saw and everything they heard. It is a highly confidential matter but other people are being interrogated as well,” he noted.
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who said he had visited the Badeh’s residence to offer his condolences, said on Friday that he learnt that none of the security men attached to the late CDS was injured or killed during the attack on their principal.
He said this was despite the information he gathered from family members and top military officers that the security detail were engaged in gun duel with the assailants before their principal was eventually killed.
He, however, stressed that there were many questions that were yet to be answered.
He added, “When I went to pay a visit to the family, I met members of the family and other very senior officers in the military, both retired and serving, and I asked relevant questions. I was told clearly and categorically that he did have security detail and they were four and those security detail were in the vehicle behind him.
“I was told that when they were attacked, the security detail engaged the assailants in gun duel to the extent that they even exhausted their ammunition. But, sadly, their principal, Alex Badeh, was shot dead and a friend of his who was also in the car was abducted while the driver was wounded.
“This raises lots of questions. The first thing is that I have never heard of a situation where there would be gun fight to the extent that all their ammunition would be exhausted and yet none of the bodyguards was wounded or killed. I find that curious.
“Secondly, if they exhausted their bullets and they fought back as gallantly as some of us were told they did, how come some of the assailants were not killed or wounded. These are the questions.
“However, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody and I think it’s important that we don’t play politics with this.”
He said it was sad that over the last one year, three senior military officers, both serving and retired, had been killed under disturbing circumstances. He cited late Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, who was the Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command, Lagos, before he was found dead; former Chief of Administration, Army Headquarters, Abuja, Maj.-Gen. Idris Alkali, who was killed in Plateau State a few months ago and now Badeh.
He added, “The perception some people have is that people who have information or know some secrets are being taken out. I don’t want to say that is the case because I don’t know but I think we need to ensure that such things don’t continue. Only God knows who is next and so we must put an end to this.”
Badeh met Aisha Buhari, Kyari before assassination – Report
Meanwhile, Badeh met with Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, over his trial for corruption three weeks before he was shot dead by unknown gunmen along Abuja-Keffi Road on Tuesday.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that Badeh, who was facing trial for alleged fraud, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, allegedly met with Aisha Buhari to seek her intervention in his legal troubles which were reportedly taking an emotional and financial toll on him.
A close associate of the deceased claimed that he confided in him that Mrs Buhari told Badeh that only Kyari could help him.
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“Badeh stated that Aisha Buhari then took him to Kyari, but the COS was non-committal. He asked the ex-CDS to call him back, but he (Kyari) was unreachable since the meeting which took place about three weeks ago,” the source, a former paramilitary officer, said.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will not spare Badeh’s properties despite his passing.
An EFCC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the anti-graft agency was determined to pursue the ongoing trial to a conclusive end and recover all illegally acquired properties by the deceased.
Acting spokesman for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, could not be reached by our correspondent for his reaction to the issue as of the time of filing this report on Friday.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, could not respond immediately. A text message sent to him was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.