‘While we are still investigating Okuama, I recall that in May 2013, over 10 officials of DSS and 55 police officers were slaughtered by a militia group known as ‘Ombatse’ in Nassarawa State. Reports said that the security officers were lured into an ambush, disposed of their weapons, brutally murdered and burnt by the cult group.

Frank Mbah, who was the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer then (he is now a DIG) had promised full investigation, noting that the police will track down the killers’ -Etim

It is not a surprise that President Bola Tinubu has ordered investigations into last week’s slayings of 17 army officers and soldiers in Delta State. It was the most gruesome attacks on the Nigerian military in recent times, and as the commander-in-chief said, ‘’it was an attack on our country’’. I should, however, remind the President that there are many unfinished investigations into previous disasters in the country. In fact, the word ‘’investigation’’ has become the most frequently used expression in Nigeria’s official lexicon. Whenever there’s a crisis in the land – and there have been many of them – there’s a 100 percent chance that the government will promptly promise ‘’urgent investigations to get to the root of the problem’’, but the outcomes of those inquiries are hardly ever known. It would appear that a promise of investigation has become an escape route for public officials buffeted from every angle by all sorts of problems.

I join others in condemning the murders of 17 army officers and soldiers in Okuama village, Bomadi LGA of Delta State. The investigators have their jobs cut out for them. What was the mission of the army in the area and who gave the order for the mission? We have been told that the soldiers were in the community for ‘peace mission’ over land matters in a small community of not more than 2,000 people. Is it customary for a military operation led by a lieutenant colonel and a major to be involved in land disagreements? I should also invite the investigators to take note of the fact that Okuama might not be the only community in the Niger Delta where soldiers regularly visit. The region itself is not a stranger to this sort of thing. Remember Odi in 2001?

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While we are still investigating Okuama, I recall that in May 2013, over 10 officials of DSS and 55 police officers were slaughtered by a militia group known as ‘Ombatse’ in Nassarawa State. Reports said that the security officers were lured into an ambush, disposed of their weapons, brutally murdered and burnt by the cult group. Frank Mbah, who was the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer then (he is now a DIG) had promised full investigation, noting that the police will track down the killers. ‘’Enough is enough’’, he told journalists. The investigators were expected to answer some numbing questions: What was the mission of the security officials, who authorized the ill-fated operation and how were they lured into the ambush? Eleven years after, there has not been any update on the matter. And we have all moved on. Well, except the families of the departed who might still be mourning their loss.

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Last December, the Nigerian army mistakenly dropped two bombs on a crowd of people in Tudun Biliri village in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State, killing over 100 of them. The villagers were celebrating a religious festival at night, but the military mistook them for a gathering of terrorists and quickly dispatched two drone bombs. There was a national outrage and the military authorities were expectedly embarrassed by such carelessness. President Tinubu was only six months in office, but he managed to make the right noises, promising ‘’prompt investigations’’. Both Kaduna and the federal government scrambled to salvage the situation and save face. The governments and the military high command promised went further to pledged to rebuild the Tudun Biliri village. Four months after, we are yet to hear of the updates on the investigations and the extent to which the village has been rebuilt. More crises are on the way…

A few weeks after the Tudun Biliri bombings, terrorists invaded three LGAs in Plateau State between Christmas eve and Boxing Day, killing and maiming over 200 villagers. Again, there were the usual official movements and motions. The state governor, Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, quickly issued a press statement, condemning the ‘’dastardly act’’ and followed it up with appearances on TV talk shows. He spoke of invasion of his state by terrorists and the helplessness of the governors as chief security officers. ‘’As I speak to you, terrorists are occupying some schools in the area and they may launch more attacks’’, he said. Vice President Kashim Shettima visited Jos and held town hall meetings with political and religious leaders. There were the usual talks of ‘’nibbing the crisis in the bud’’ and instituting a high-powered investigation to get to the root of the matter’’. The National Assembly even invited the service chiefs into a closed-door session ‘’to find lasting solutions to the crisis’’. As at this hour, we have not heard of a single arrest being made and the outcome of the ‘’full scale investigations’’. The country has moved on…

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We cannot easily forget March 28, 2022, when terrorists planted explosives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks. The device exploded when the train travelling from Abuja to Kaduna ran over it, killing eight passengers while many others were kidnapped by the terrorists. Again, investigations were promised, and again no word has been heard on where we are on that. Our country is full of many other unfinished investigations into cases of buildings collapse, extra judicial killings, accidental discharges and even that notorious case of a snake swallowing millions of naira belonging to the government.

Since May 29, a new wave of investigations has come upon us. The CBN and many of its actions, including the Anchor Borrowers Program are under scrutiny. The Senate is planning to look into the N30 trillion ‘Ways and Means’ of the Buhari era, and at the same time, some Northern groups are calling for a probe into the Senate’s N3 trillion budget-padding matter! Talk of investigating the investigator!

What then do we do with all the litany of investigations in the land? Can we have a judicial committee to investigate all cases of unfinished investigations?

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