With empirical and anecdotal evidences, yes, the Soldiers were right to open fire, and kill, the suspected kidnappers whom were later discovered to be Policemen in Taraba.

The Nigerian Police Force have gone on Twitter to find Espirit De Corps in lamenting the death of their officers killed by personnel of the Nigerian military, like a child whose lunchbox was taken from it. But this wailing is a far cry from the truth, and is only an emotional appeal to get civilians to pity them. It is ironic how they’ve brutally murdered the people whom they seek sympathy from in the same manner in the past.

M’Lords, I’ll like to introduce evidence for the Nigerian Military as obtained from a Premium Times report titled “UPDATED: Nigerian Army speaks on killing of three police officers by soldiers “, published on August 8, 2019. In that report, the Nigerian army after its probe into the incidence, said “the troops attached to 93 Battalion, Takum, pursued a white bus conveying 10 persons they thought were kidnappers, not knowing that the bus was mostly occupied by police officers from the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Abuja. The officers were on a covert mission to arrest the kidnap suspect who was identified as Alhaji Hamisu.” The army also added that “troops responded to a distress call from villagers that Mr Hamisu was kidnapped, blaming the police for not properly coordinating the raid and causing confusion. The suspected kidnappers numbering about ten (10) and driving in a white bus with Reg No LAGOS MUS 564 EU refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive check points. The flagrant refusal of the suspected kidnappers to stop at the three checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit of the fleeing suspects by the troops.”

In order to give credence to the Army’s reason for listening to the tip-off, & firing at the Policemen who did not heed calls to halt, it must be noted that “the Divisional Police Officer of Ibi Police Division responded that he was not informed about any operation by the Nigerian Police Force” when the Nigerian Army called to make enquiries, upon subduing some of the officers.

It is not news in Nigeria, that people who have identified as Policemen have orchestrated dastardly acts & gone away with it, while the NPF itself has also been responsible for missing persons. The case of Oluwaseyi Adesuyi who was taken away in 2013 by the Police is a good point of call. In a Premium Times report of December 6, 2018, it was written that Seyi “was taken away by SARS operatives but has not been seen ever since. The last time Oluwaseyi Adesuyi was seen alive in public was on July 5, 2013, when he was paraded as a suspect before journalists in connection with a high-profile kidnapping. Since then, like a mirage at dusk, he has completely disappeared without a trace. The police, which arrested and paraded him, are unable to say what happened to him. They cannot produce any record of his arrest. He did not escape from police custody. There is also no evidence he was charged to court. Nobody knows his whereabouts.”

Do we then blame soldiers for trying to save another suspected citizen whom the Police have tried to cover his arrest, even to the point of misleading eyewitnesses about their true intentions? This suspect, according to the NPF has a bounty on his head. How do you arrest such a high profile suspect, and on your return back to Force HQ, refuse to heed calls from the Military, or to identify yourselves despite being appealed to, to do so?

We cannot, and should not, at any point blame the Nigerian Military for taking reasonable caution to prevent the kidnap of a citizen by suspected kidnappers, especially at a precarious time when kidnap cases are on the rise. For officers attached to an intelligence unit, they behaved without intelligence, and either by their own volition, or by commands from Police Force Headquarters, whoever gave the absolute non-disclosure command, even on a mere stop-and-identity occasion, killed the Policemen. The soldiers were merely factors.

My lords, No reason dug from anywhere whatsoever will qualify enough to justify the unlawful killing of the men of the Nigerian police force that died in the line of duty in the just concluded week.

Milords, how great could an excuse be to find understanding or logic in such absurd anomaly? How do you rationalize a fistful loss of life, an intentional massacre on grounds of miscommunication or failure to observe military bidding? How quickly have we forgotten that the police have their own codes of conduct during (special) operations such as this. Why should they succumb to the military in that case? This is easily a clear case of evident bullying and victimhood as having portrayed by their previous relations.

It is an open secret that the Nigerian police force and the Armed forces enjoy a tumultuous rivalry. As a matter of fact, this case could easily pass for an extra judicial killing or a gambit for the Khaki boys to score cheap points. Being that Nigeria is a country where the bad boys enjoy an unrestrained access to Military uniform, how do we expect those men on duty to know who is not who? It has been reported on several occasions that hoodlums appear to perpetrate their several evils wearing the military camouflage. This class of people includes the Boko Haram, Armed robbers and hired assassins. But if at all the the Army meant good and truly acted on spontaneous impulse to put a plank on crime, they must truly answer these questions which they have avoided constantly: why did they not respond properly to the NPF even after having recognized that the slained men were indeed members of the Police force? Where is the arrested Man? Why was this target not hit in the encounter since he was with them in the vehicle? Why did the Army deny vehemently when the Police force first took to Twitter in accusation?

These questions point us to the answers, definitely and until the Military does the needful, no man should, or even attempt to fault the Police. This is a matter of people dying for a cause, for a country and no one should dare rear their head to contaminate the purity of this sacrifice by saying whatnots.

Milords, The police are evil, the police take bribes, they oppress people on the streets, but they do not deserve to die in this manner. Not from the bullets of Sister forces if at all it is in their star to die through the uttering of guns. Justice should not be lacking even in death. Those soldiers were wrong to have shot the members of the Nigerian police force, M’lords. I submit.

CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom. Send reservations, comments and suggestions to +2348177522712, +2348107582225 or thecourtroomng@gmail.com

Was the Nigerian military right to open fire on personnel of the Nigerian Police Force?