From Elohor Igbru, Abuja
The Nigerian Army (NA) has been forced to again deny allegations that former commander of the 157 Task Force bases in Metele, Borno who along with 117 soldiers and officers were gruelly murdered by Boko Haram fighters in 2018 was assasinated by the Army.
Statements credited to the widow of the late gallant senior officer, Oluwaseun Sakaba alleged that the officer and his men paid the supreme price because they would not steal money meant for the fight against insurgency.
In a statement released in Abuja by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Sakaba died in the course of duty and there was nothing fishy about his death.
Nwachukwu said: “The Nigerian Army has been notified of an article making the rounds online, in which an allegation credited to Mrs Oluwaseun Sakaba, the widow of late Col Ibrahim Sakaba alleged that the late senior officer was assassinated for refusing to loot funds meant for fighting the Boko Haram Insurgency.
“The late senior officer’s widow was quoted to have made several uncomplimentary comments about the institution of the Nigerian Army (NA), making reference to an unfounded and baseless claims devoid of any fact.
“While the NA is not interested in joining issues with anyone with respect to the enormous sacrifices made daily by our gallant troops, it is however expedient to address the weighty allegations credited to the widow. The NA acknowledges the emotional agony associated with loosing loved ones and that cannot be quantified by any unit of measure.
“The demise of late Col Ibrahim Sakaba, like those of other officers and soldiers who paid the supreme price in the war against terrorism in the North East, is one that is painful to the NA.
“These men and women died serving our nation, fighting to restore peace and stability in the North East. This is in tandem with the constitutional mandate of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.”
Mrs Sakaba’s outburst stemmed from the recent acceptance of “repentant” Boko Haram fighters including senior commanders in the terror group and the plea to be forgiven by Nigerians.
However, Nwachukwu insisted it was ” totally a mischief and an assault on the psyche of our troops, who are relentlessly fighting, to begin to insinuate any plot against one of our own. And what is the plot here? That troops were led by their commander for an operational engagement is not a plot, as any one may want to insinuate. “
He said the operation wherein Sakaba and his men were murdered was a purely military operation.
He said: “Rather, it was a clear military mission with clear objective. It is however disheartening that this gallant officer and some of his men paid the supreme price in the operation and we pray fervently for the repose of their souls.
” Col Sakaba was a respected senior officer who gave his all in the defence of the freedom we all enjoy today. His demise is a great loss to all of us. Insinuating anything contrary is a deservice to our nation and the sacrifices of our troops.”
Entitlements of Sakaba has been paid
The Army image maker made clarifications regarding the entitlements of the late Army Officer.
“Concerning the issue of entitlements. Available records reveal the following incontrovertible facts:
“That Master Samuel Ibrahim Sakaba, the son of Mrs Seun Sakaba is the Next of Kin (NOK) to the late Senior Officer and the only child.
“All entitlements meant to be paid by the NA have been paid to the NOK through Mrs Oluwaseun Sakaba.
“As at the time his entitlements were processed, Samuel was less than 6years as such, he was not benefiting from NA school sponsorship. However now that he has reached the required age, he has been captured for payment of school sponsorship which will commence any moment from now. The NA will continue to sponsor the child’s education up to graduation from university, as long as he fulfills the requirements outlined in the rules guiding the scheme.
“The only entitlement owed Mrs Oluwaseun Sakaba is the Group Life Assurance which is normally paid by the Insurance Company and which would soon be received along with that of other deceased personnel.”
He reiterated that the Army takes the welfare of it’s serving and late personnel seriously and would continue to pursue the welfare of troops.
“The NA under the leadership of the COAS, will continue to pursue the welfare of troops who are working round the clock to ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians. The NA will not be deterred, but remain focused in its pursuit of excellence and in ensuring that all Nigerians enjoy their God given right to live freely anywhere in Nigeria,” he said.