One of the unsolved puzzles of 2018 has to be the way and manner Chief of Air Staff (retd) Alex Badeh was killed. And the entire country deserves to ask questions about Badeh’s death, if only to ensure his soul rests in peace.
Badeh was returning home from his farm on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 when he ran into an ambush of gunmen. He didn’t survive the attack. His last pictures were those of him slouched lifelessly on the car seat, submerged in a pool of his own blood.
There have been conflicting reports surrounding Badeh’s death. We were first told that he was the sole occupant in his car on the day. And then we were informed that he was riding alongside two others—his driver and a friend.
When rumours swelled that Badeh was left with no security detail after he unceremoniously left the force in 2016, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) immediately issued a statement to say Badeh had “always been provided with the full complement of personal staff and security personnel commensurate with his status" as a retired 4-star General.
A new report states that a friend of Badeh’s who was abducted from the same car during the shooting, has been released following the payment of a ransom.
Who is this friend? Was Badeh’s driver killed as well? If Badeh had security detail provided by NAF, why was he driving without them on a route that dangerous? Have investigators extracted any statements, pieces of evidence from the survivor(s)? If not, why not?
Admittedly, Badeh was no one’s idea of a modern day saint. He had his flaws like we all do. He had been smeared with allegations bordering on corruption to the staggering tune of N3.9 billion. The federal government alleges that Badeh was one of a cast of Generals who benefited off the Boko Haram war in the Northeast by diverting money that should have equipped troops, into private bank accounts and sending soldiers to the battlefront to be embarrassingly killed by a more sophisticated and better armed terrorist sect.
His corruption case was still in court when he was murdered. However, for all his alleged sins, his killers need to be found and prosecuted in accordance with the nation’s laws, if only to serve as a deterrence of some sort. Any thing short of that will further fuel conspiracy theories of complicity on the government's part.
It sends a sorry message to the rest of the nation when a retired General is so easily murdered and no one has been held responsible, days after. Was Badeh assassinated or not? Nigerians badly need answers.