The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Monday ordered traveling officers and men to wear plain clothes (mufti) while traveling across Nigeria.
Buratai accused the Force Headquarters of making “inciting and inflammatory comments” following soldiers’ killing of three policemen and a civilian in Taraba after they had effected the arrest of a notorious kidnap kingpin Hamisu Bala Wadume, who is now on the run.
Concise News understands that Buratai’s order is contained in a circular with reference number: AHQDAIOPS/G3/240/232 and copied to Army formations nationwide.
The letter signed by Brig. Gen. F. Omoigui, on behalf of the COAS, was entitled: “Need for troops to be circumspect in dealing with members of the Nigeria Police.”
Buratai directed soldiers on internal security (IS) operations across the country to be circumspect, alerting of the likelihood of aggression towards troops by police personnel.
He said Police statements and reactions had the potential of forcing the rank and file of its personnel to “exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA (Nigerian Army) personnel.”.
Soldiers of the 93 Battalion had shot dead the IRT operatives, Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Usman Danzumi, and Sergeant Dahiru Musa.
The Army claimed they were shot because they suspected they were kidnappers.
But spokesman for the police, DCP Frank Mba, in a strongly-worded statement, said: “The most important question arising from the Nigerian Army Press Release is: Where is Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume?
“Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume is a millionaire kidnapper arrested by the Police but paradoxically treated as a ‘‘kidnap victim’’ by the Soldiers and subsequently ‘rescued’ by them. Where is he? Where is the rescued kidnapper?”