Manhunt Begins For Badeh’s killers

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The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, and some top security officers held a closed-door meeting yesterday with a view to fishing out the killers of former CDS, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

Unknown gunmen shot the late officer along the Keffi-Abuja road on Tuesday.

Badeh’s death came less than four months after the gruesome killing of another top military officer, retired Major General Idris Alkali, in Plateau State.

A source at the presidency confirmed that the meeting between Kyari and the security chiefs started at 11:30 a.m. and lasted over five hours.

President Muhammadu Buhari also ordered security operatives to find the perpetrators, describing the incident as “very sad and unfortunate.”

The killing is “totally unacceptable,” declared Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stressing: “By the grace of God, we will get them (perpetrators) and they will face justice.”

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At the Fourth Quarter Chief of Air Staff Conference in Abuja, Abubakar, said: “Though we are working hard, we should redouble our efforts. We need to work round the clock. We need to put in more effort. We need to collaborate more closely to ensure that these criminals are not allowed to endanger the lives of our people.”

The CAS, who noted that the Nigeria Air Force was still in a state of shock, appreciated the support of Nigerians following the news and expressed condolence to the family of the deceased.

In its reaction, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum said it was “devastated by the latest occurrence in the country where a former Chief of Defence Staff could be killed like a fowl on the street.”

The forum, in a statement by spokespersons for Afenifere (Yinka Odumakin), Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Chigozie Ogbu), South South (Bassey Henshaw) and Middle Belt (Isuwa Dogo), also alleged there was no prompt response by the Federal Government.

“The primary responsibility of every responsible government is to secure life and property and when failure attracts mute indifference on the part of the government, killers are encouraged to continue their acts as the fear of consequences has been removed,” the forum stated.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) pointed out that the murder came ahead of the opening of Badeh’s defence in January over an alleged N3.9 billion corruption case.

It called for a far-reaching investigation to unravel the persons behind the act and their motive.

It regretted that the killing of a top military officer like Badeh has aggravated concerns about insecurity under the Buhari administration.

“Our nation is drifting and gradually assuming the status of a failed state. We urge President Buhari to spend the few months left of his administration to provide a leadership that will secure respect for our territorial integrity and the lives of our people,” the party said in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.

It also urged security operatives to leave no stones unturned at bringing the killers to book and condoled with the family of the late officer.

Similarly, a former supervising minister of defence, Labaran Maku, urged military authorities to launch a full-scale investigation into the killing, recalling that the “very intelligent and technology-minded officer” served under him.

“I was shocked when I received the news,” Maku, a Nasarawa State governorship aspirant, declared yesterday during a campaign.

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa meanwhile recalled some of the achievements of the former CDS such as “initiating the Optimising Local Engineering (OLE 1 and 2), which focused on developing indigenous Unarmed Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and other weapons systems. This resulted in the production of the AMEBO project (a.k.a. GULMA 1 UAV) the first locally produced drone in Nigeria.

This allowed the Air Force to survey and carry out attacks remotely without putting the lives of pilots at risk.”

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, the governor appealed to security agencies to unmask those involved in the crime.

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