The tense atmosphere and friction between the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police seems to be escalating in spite of probe panel ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari into the killings of three Intelligence Response Team (IRT), officers.
This followed a memo by the Chief of Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, directing troops on internal security duties to be cautious in their dealings with members of the police force.
Three IRT police officers on official duty to Ibi in Taraba state were killed last week Tuesday by soldiers of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army.
The Chief of Army Staff in a memo dated August 9, 2019 and signed by Brigadier General F. Omoigui which was sent to all Army formations across the country, warned soldiers that must have to travel to do so in mufti in order to avoid confrontations with policemen.
He noted that the police are making inflammatory comments in the social media that are capable of inciting its rank and file to exhibit aggressive tendencies against the Nigerian Army personnel.
The letter with reference number AHQDAIOPS/G3/240/232 titled; “Need for troops to be circumspect in dealing with members of the Nigeria Police,” said that in the aftermath of the unfortunate incident involving troops of 93 battalion, Takum and members of the Intelligence Response Team of the NPF at Ibi LGA of Taraba State on August 6, 2019, all troops on Internal Security (IS) duty as well as personnel travelling in and out of uniform are to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation.
The memo further states; “Consequently, formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings with members of the NP in view of this development. Troops travelling on pass are to endeavor to do so in mufti,” Buratai warned.
The IRT police team led by ASP Felix Adolije came under attack by soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo Road while taking a kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume, to the Police Command Headquarters in Jalingo.
Three of the police officers namely; Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeants Usman Danzumi, Dahiru Musa and a civilian were killed while some others sustained gunshot wounds during the incident.
The Nigerian Army in a statement that followed claimed that the soldiers fired at the IRT team for refusing to stop at three checkpoints.
The police in a quick reaction however debunked the Army’s claim and demanded the whereabouts of the kidnap suspect who it accused the soldiers of setting free.
Efforts made by Forefront News to get the police reaction to the COAS latest memo from the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, did not yield result as calls to his phone were not picked.