Preliminary findings by the military authorities have revealed how the gunmen, who attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, gained access to the institution.
The PUNCH gathered that the attackers broke into five apartments at the NDA residential quarters and swiftly escaped before the guards on duty could respond.
This came to the fore on Wednesday as the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Coalition of Northern Groups berated the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Gunmen had early on Tuesday attacked the NDA, killed two officers and kidnapped another during the surprise attack.
The deceased are Lieutenant Commander Wulah and Flight Lieutenant Commander Okoronkwo, while Major Datong was abducted. The gunmen injured another person, identified as Onah.
But preliminary findings by the military authorities indicate that the attackers broke into five apartments at the NDA residential quarters and swiftly escaped before the guards could respond to the situation.
The successful abduction and swiftness of the operation suggested that the assailants might have collaborators within the NDA, it was learnt.
An assessment of the incident carried out by the authorities indicated that the sentry guards did not offer a robust and effective response to the armed invaders.
It was also noted that the bush behind the officers’ quarters made it easy for the gunmen, said to be in military uniform, to escape
The report states, “An assessment of the kidnap incident revealed that the bandits gained access and escaped by breaching the barbed wire fence of the academy along Airport Road, Afaka.
“Further checks revealed bushy areas around the officers’ quarters to the fence area, which is believed to have given the bandits easy concealment during escape.
“More so, it was observed that the response time of troops to the crime scene was slow as the bandits successfully broke into five different flats in the same block and swiftly withdrew before the intervention of troops.
“Further assessment revealed that the bandits’ escape route leads across the Airport Road to the open farm/bush area near Gidan Gado village in Afaka.”
The report further noted that the bandits escaped through the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
It stated, “The bandits are believed to have escaped either to Buruku and Maguzawa axis or the Riwaya axis in the Igabi LGA, which are known as notorious bandits’ hideouts.
“Consequently, there is a need for robust clearance operations along those areas.”
It added that a joint security operation had been launched to rescue the kidnapped officer.
The report also strongly recommended an overhaul of the security architecture of the NDA to avert a recurrence of the attack.
Defence HQ sets up board of enquiry
Also on Wednesday, the Defence Headquarters said it had set up a board of enquiry to ascertain the incidents that led to the security breach at the NDA.
The DHQ disclosed this in a statement by its Director of Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr.
He stated, “Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that the NDA authorities, acting on the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, have constituted a board of enquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate cause(s) of the breach of security with a view to sanctioning any personnel found culpable and also preventing a future occurrence.
Bandits consistently rehearsed before attacking NDA, says Sawyerr
In an interview with the Voice of Nigeria, Sawyerr said the gunmen had “consistently studied (the NDA) and rehearsed” before carrying out the attack.
He also said the slain officers were killed for resisting being abducted by the attackers.
He stated, “It was an unfortunate incident. We lost two of our very brave officers. Every security architecture is susceptible to breaches; it is unfortunate that that of the NDA was breached.
“I can tell you that these people had consistently studied and rehearsed what they wanted to do, because where they went to are the quarters for officers. The officers, who were killed, fought bravely against being abducted.”
A constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said he was not surprised by the development at the NDA and stated that Armageddon was here.
He stated this in a chat with The PUNCH on Wednesday.
Ozekhome said, “I am not surprised at all. When you point one finger at others, be sure that four are pointing at you. The words of the German cleric, Martin Niemoller, after the Jewish holocaust between 1940 and 1945 during the World War II are very apt here.
“Let the Buhari government go and read them and they will understand why the chicken is coming home to roost so soon.
“When bandits attack a school for the training of military men and audaciously demand ransom, then Armageddon is here.”
The Coalition of 52 Northern Groups accused the Federal Government of demonstrating weakness in the fight against insecurity in the country.
The coalition made the accusation following the attack on the NDA by terrorists.
According to the CNG, the Nigerian polity has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly.
The spokesman for the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said this in a statement titled, ‘NDA attack: Again, CNG fumes, insists Nigeria failed under Buhari’.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said Tuesday’s attack on the NDA would buoy the military’s determination to make decisive end to criminality in the country, rather than dampen the morale of the armed forces as intended.
Buhari’s assurance was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘Attack on NDA won’t Dampen Resolve of our Military to Bring Decisive End to Criminality, President Buhari Vows’.
The Christian Association of Nigeria expressed concern over the weakness of the government in tackling the security challenges in the country.
The organisation said with the killing of 36 persons in Naraguta community in the Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State by terrorists, it was obvious that the sleepiness of Nigerian leaders “is too much and too long.”
The Vice-President of CAN in the 19 Northern States and Abuja, Rev Joseph Hayab, stated this in an interview with The PUNCH.
The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said on the NDA might be a ploy to embarrass the President,
Shehu said this in an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday.
He stated, “Many scenarios are being painted though. Could this be truly a criminal attempt to violate the sanctity of that military institution? Was this an opportunistic crime? Is it political? Does somebody want to embarrass the government by doing this?”(Punch).