After a massive manhunt, the police have re-arrested suspected kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala also known as Wadume. He was picked up in Kano after he escaped from Taraba State when soldiers killed three police detectives and two civilians who had arrested him at his hideout in the state.
Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, who narrated how the “multi-millionaire” suspect was trailed and re-arrested at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State in the late hours of Monday, said that “the police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect, Alhaji Wadume since 6th August, 2019 following the unfortunate incident in Ibi, Taraba State which resulted in the brutal murder of three police officers and two civilians, and injury to five others.”
An elated inspector-general of police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, commended the police operatives for their perseverance and painstaking efforts in the arrest of Wadume. He expressed profound gratitude to Nigerians for their unparalleled show of love and empathy for the Nigeria Police Force and the families of the officers and patriotic civilians who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland.
He said that it was his belief that the re-arrest of Wadume would no doubt help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect.
Revisiting Wadume’s escape before his re-arrest on Monday, Mba said that “the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his ‘rescuers’ after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs,” he said.
Consequently, Adamu ordered a full-scale probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of three police operatives and the civilians and serious injury to other officers, who were on investigation activities to Ibi, Taraba State.
“The operatives were on the mission to arrest one Alhaji Hamisu Wadume indicted in a series of high-profile kidnap incidents in the state,” Mba said.
The operatives led by ASP Felix Adolije of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) came under sudden attack and serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, along Ibi-Jalingo Road.
“The operatives, who were taking the arrested suspect, Alhaji Wadume to the command headquarters in Jalingo, the state capital were shot at severally by the soldiers despite sufficient proofs that they were police personnel on legitimate duty.
“Three policemen (one inspector and two sergeants) and one civilian died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained in the attack while others sustained serious gunshot wounds. The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Wadume, who is now on the run,” Mba had said.
Jubilation In Taraba
Meanwhile, Wadume’s arrest has been greeted with wild jubilation in Taraba. The residents said that they had been living under terror since his escape was announced.
The former chairman of Ibi local government area caretaker committee, Hon. Adashos Jonathan Adasho, said that the arrest of the kidnapper kingpin was good news to the people of the council who have been under siege since the killing of the policemen within the area.
Adasho said that both the traditional and the religious leaders in the community were living in fear following the indiscriminate arrest of the people of Ibi over the escape of the suspect.
He said now that the suspect had been arrested by the police, those who were apprehended over his whereabouts would heave a sigh of relief, adding that the people would wait patiently to know the truth in the allegations levelled against Wadume.
But Alhaji Yahaya Maikifi Ibi said that the arrest of the suspect was not good news for the people of Angwan Motori in Serkin Kudu area of Ibi who were major beneficiaries of his ill-gotten wealth.
Yahaya said that Wadune was a philanthropist who did not discriminate against the people irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
He said that Wadume had embarked on a mosque construction and other projects that may not be completed if the police restricted his freedom.
Also, Mr. Michael Adi, said that the borehole project the suspect just completed would remain in the area for other residents to use.
Adi said: “I wish you were here to see the mood of the people, nobody is happy over the development. Let’s be honest to ourselves, Hamisu Bala also known as Wadume has done well for the people of Ibi and beyond. For some of us here, he has helped us by eradicating poverty from various families; we want someone who has his kind of heart.”
Kano Residents Not Jittery Over Wadume’s Arrest
Residents of Hotoro Layin Mai Allo and Yandodo Hotoro and their neighbours in Nasarawa local government area of Kano State have said that they were not worried over Wadume’s arrest in the area by the police.
Most of the residents went about their normal businesses yesterday despite the arrest of the kidnap kingpin who sought refuge in their area to evade the police who were on his trail.
Wadume was traced to his hideout in Hotoro Layin Mai Allo and whisked away to Abuja by the security operatives for questioning.
When LEADERSHIP visited the area,some residents among which include Malam Ado Isah Mai Anwaru who informed our reporter that he is a trader who sales provision in his shop said “ I am not aware of any arrest.”
His neighbour, Malam Auwalu Sani Kofar Wambai, said he heard the news from a local radio and was surprise to hear that the suspect was hiding in the area.
Wambai said: “There is no way the ordinary people would know what had happened since there was no gun shot that would have attracted our attention. The operatives carried out the task quietly.”
On her part, Hajiya Lami Hassan Marke, said that even women in the compound where the operation took place were not aware of it.
“You can see that the people are going about their normal businesses and no one is even talking about any arrest because of their ignorance of the whole issue,” she stated.
In a video that went viral yesterday, Wadume claimed that he was freed by soldiers at their headquarters.
In the confessionary statement, he said: ‘’Operatives of the Nigeria Police earlier arrested me but, while we were on transit, some soldiers chased us and a series of gunshots were fired at our moving vehicle which led to the death of some police officers. The soldiers took me to the Army Headquarters, cut off the handcuff and I was told to go before the police caught me again.’’
We’re Waiting For Presidential Panel’s Findings – Army
But, sources at the Army Headquarters have said that the Service would not react to the arrest of Wadume and the allegations he made in a viral video pending the result of the presidential committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of police officers on official duty in Taraba.
One of the source said that the panel had started work and its findings would put things into perspective and unravel the true story of the incident.
He added that the joint presidential panel was superior to any Service, stressing that the Army cannot react to issues raised in the said video by the kidnapper now in police custody.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had, following presidential order, constituted a seven-man joint panel to investigate the killing of police officers by soldiers attached to 93 Battalion in Taraba State.
The acting director of Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, had in a statement said: “The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, has constituted a seven-man Joint Investigation Panel to unravel the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident between the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police allegedly resulting in the killing of three personnel of the Nigeria Police and a civilian along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State,”
He stated that the panel with a representative each from the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency is headed by Rear Admiral I.T. Olaiya.
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