18 February 2013

Nigeria: Jaji Bombing - I Alerted Army Headquarters Ahead of Time - Gen Isa

The retired Commander of the Army Infantry School Jaji, Major-General Mohammed Isa, yesterday, disclosed how he tried in vain to avert the terrorists' attacks in the institution.

The Chief of Army Staff had alleged that the General Isa had all the information about the attacks, but refused to act until the attacks were successfully executed.

The Army General who was forcefully retired from active service denied the allegation that he had prior knowledge of the bomb blast.

According to the ex-commander who spoke through his lawyer, Mr. Yahaya Mahmood (SAN) said, he had written several letters and complaints on security challenges at Jaji.

Mahmood, in a letter addressed to editors of four national dailies including LEADERSHIP, said that his client had written to Army Headquarters complaining that the Barrack was not fenced and that there were civilians living within it.

"When our client wrote to the army headquarters requesting for Money to construct 25 watch towers and perimeters fence, he was directed to refer the request to HQ 41 DE and NAE which he did," he added.

The retired General also denied knowledge of those responsible for the media campaign against perceived discrepancies in the recruitments, promotions, postings and retirements in the Army.

In relation to the bomb blast and the commander's compulsory retirement, he narrated that "on Sunday, November 25, 2012 he left for Asaba for Chief of Army Staff Conference in company of a co-commandant in Jaji, AVM Umaru (rtd) and as they were approaching Okene, he received a call that there was bomb blast in Jaji."

"As I arrived Asaba I briefed the Chief of Army Staff, took permission and returned to Jaji. On November 27, 2012, I issued a Convening Order, constituting a board of inquiry, to investigate and determine the circumstances that led to the bomb blast. On the same date, the COAS also constituted a board of inquiry.

"On November 30, 2012, an Order was issued to me that I should hand over by 8: 50 pm the following day, which I did. On the December 14, I was asked to forward my notification of retirement or face compulsory retirement," he narrated.

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