The Nigerian Army has dismissed reports claiming its officer, Col. Ibrahim Sakaba, was assassinated while preventing fraudulent activities in the military.
Sakaba was one of the 44 soldiers killed by the insurgents during an attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State in November 2018.
A statement released by its media aide, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, states that the institution 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. Nwachukwu said 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 claim devoid of any fact.
Reacting to the allegations credited to Mrs Sakaba, Nwachukwu said;
“While the Nigerian Army 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 Nigerian Army acknowledges the emotional agony associated with loosing loved ones and that cannot be quantified by any unit of measure”.
The army public relations director noted that the men and women who died along with Col. Sakaba, paid the ultimate price while serving the nation, fighting to restore peace and stability in the embattled region.
According to him, it would be totally mischief and an assault on the psyche of the fighting troops to begin to insinuate any plot against one of its 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. 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.”he said
Regarding the entitlements of the slain soldier, Nwachukwu said that available records showed that late Sakaba had his son, Samuel Ibrahim Sakaba as his next of kin and the only child, adding that all entitlements meant to be paid by the Nigerian Army had been paid to the son through Mrs Sakaba. The Army spokesperson said this was done through the officer’s wife because as of the time his entitlements were processed, Samuel was less than six years and as such, he was not benefiting from army 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 Nigerian Army will continue to sponsor the child’s education up to graduation from university, as long as he fulfils the requirements outlined in the rules guiding the scheme.
The only entitlement owed Mrs 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 personal” Nwachukwu stated.
He said the Nigerian Army takes the welfare of her troops very seriously, as evident in the various welfare programmes put in place for troops and their families. He pointed out that the leadership has made the welfare of troops, one of the cardinal pillars of the Chief of Army Staff.