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Curious murder of Alex Badeh

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Former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (retired)


Again the country has been thrown into another cycle of mourning by the brutal murder of Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd). There was a report at press time that the police detectives had arrested some suspects on the curious murder some actually reported as suspected assassination. This happened despite a retinue of security operatives that usually accompanied him. In the lethal attack, which occurred near a village called Gitata along Keffi-Bade road, he was the sole victim.This tragedy is too much for a country yet to be cured of mourning of its men in arms killed in combat by the Boko Haram insurgents barely a month ago. Indeed, the public psyche is badly hurt and shaken on account of these endless and avoidable killings.

The late Badeh had served the country meritoriously for over a generation. Born January 10, 1957, in Adamawa State, he was a member of 21 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy and Course 14 of the National War College in 1977 and 2005 respectively. Also, he attended training at the Vance Air Force Base in the United States. He served in the Air Force for 38 years in the course of which he became the Chief of Air Staff and later Chief of Defence Staff. Marshal Badeh is credited with initiating the Optimizing Local Engineering (OLE 1 and 2) which focused on developing indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and weapon systems.

This cold-blooded murder is a sad commentary on the value we place on human life as well as the state of insecurity in the country. It should be noted that in and out of service, ex-servicemen are important asset to the national security. They are never expendable and could be recalled for service in times of national emergency. What is more, their career experiences remain invaluable.

The other day on this page, we painted a depressing and terrifying picture of the state of insecurity in the country and asked the pertinent question: is any one safe? The security situation in Nigeria has got to an alarming rate that observers and citizens alike have given up on the capability of the Nigerian state to protect its citizens. It is either the security forces are being wasted by insurgents in the northeast or ordinary Nigerians, going about their daily existential drudgery are being mauled down by heartless gunmen across the country. The dilemma of the recurring security violations in the country is that no one is ever brought to book on account of these heinous crimes. The country appears on auto-pilot and we think the time has come for the leadership of the country to get on top of the situation and convince Nigerians that they still have a government whose primary responsibility is to protect lives and property.

To be sure, the president has asked his security chiefs to fish out the killers of Badeh. We do hope that this not a case of rhetoric and that commitment will be demonstrated by the chief helmsman. While the Deputy Senate President expressed a forlorn hope on the floor of the Senate that the killers of Badeh might not be found like previous cases such as the murder of the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, we trust that the task of finding Badeh’s killers will not end up in a cul-de-sac. The police reported yesterday that some suspects had been arrested in connection with the murder of the former service chief.

However, Badeh’s death has spawned many theories as to the likely motive behind his death. It is true that he is under prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged financial misappropriation. There were reports that he had hinted the security formations the fact that he was being trailed by some mystery-men. These are by no means substitute for an impartial investigation into the matter and the imperative of punishing the perpetrators, whether in high or low places.

It is important to emphasise the need to protect those who survived at the scene of murder and this must not be treated with kid gloves. In particular, this murder must not go the way of other high profile killings in the country over which no culprit has been found. The consequence of a people inured to the notion of laid up institutions of state would be self-help that is extremely deleterious to societal order. Therefore, the criminal justice process must take its course and the killers must be found.

Nothing short of this can reinforce the confidence of Nigerians to the extent that they still have country and government alive to its responsibility of protecting its citizenry. It must be repeated to the authorities that the organic law of the land provides clearly in its fundamental objectives context that welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. And so if any government fails in this primary responsibility to the people, there will be no redemption songs for that government.


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Alex Badeh
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