Daily Independent Online.         * Thursday, April 15, 2004.


FG raises panel on security breach

‘Al-Mustapha still facing interrogation’

By Chris Agbambu

Deputy Bureau Chief, Abuja


Abuja has set up a special investigation panel to fish out those involved in the alleged security breach announced two weeks ago. The  probe will extend to the sponsors of the breach as well as the motive for it.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Alexander Ogomudia, disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja. He also spoke of the attitude of the military to the proposed march by the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP).

Ogomudia warned that while CNPP prepares for the protest, the Armed Forces will not abandon their constitutional  role of defending the country, and that  if the march gets out of control, “even though the police are capable, the military will restore law and order.”

He said there were “sings of untoward  activities in the security breach,” hence the government  set up the panel  to investigate the matter.  Another panel will ascertain the level of involvement of those under interrogation.

His words: “You must get to the bottom of the problem before you can tell the world the type of security breach or coup scare. What could have possibly gone wrong? Who are those involved? What is it about? Who are the sponsors? – before anybody can openly say what happened.”

He said as the investigation is still going on, it is difficult to put a figure on the number of those being interrogated because people are invited, interrogated and cleared while others are still being invited; so it will be difficult to say so persons are being detained.

He added:  “ When we get to the root of the matter, we would inform the nation, it will not be fair at this point in time to begin to mention names.

“Yes, of course, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha is being interrogated, which has to do with the problem on ground.  If at the end of the day he is cleared of the allegation he will be sent back to Kirikiri prisons, where he is being detained, to continue to face trial”  for the attempted murder of The Guardian publisher,  Alex Ibru.