The Nigerian Army has said that Colonel Ibrahim Sakaba died while fighting terrorists in the North-East, and that he was not assassinated as some people have speculated.
In a statement on Thursday, Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, who described the Colonel’s death and the death of other soldiers as painful to the army, dismissed claims attributed to the widow of the late Sakaba, Mrs Oluwaseun Sakaba, suggesting that the soldier was murdered for refusing to steal from funds meant for fighting Boko Haram.
Brig-Gen Nwachukwu said the claim was unfounded and baseless with no element of truth in it.
“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 losing loved ones and that cannot be quantified by any unit of measure,” he stated.
According to him, the military 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.
He added that it would be totally mischievous and an assault on the psyche of the fighting troops to begin to insinuate a plot against a soldier.
“And what is the plot here? That troops were led by their commander for an operational engagement is not a plot, as anyone may want to insinuate,” he said in the statement.
“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 disservice to our nation and the sacrifices of our troops.”
Regarding the entitlements of the slain soldier, Brig-Gen. Nwachukwu said that available records revealed that the late officer had his son, Samuel Ibrahim Sakaba, as the 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.
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 fulfills 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 personnel,” Brig-Gen Nwachukwu stated.
He further disclosed that various welfare programmes have been put in place by the Nigerian Army, and the well-being of the troops remained paramount.
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