Former Corps Commandant, Infantry, Jaji, retired Major General Mohammad Isa at the weekend denied allegation that he had prior knowledge of the bomb blast that rocked Jaji military cantonment last year.
In November, last year, twin blast rocked a church in the barrack killing about 20 persons. General Isa was redeployed following the blast from and subsequently sacked from the Army.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika had while addressing a press conference alleged that Isa had prior knowledge of the bomb blast and that the retired general was behind the campaign against him in the media.
Reacting to the COAS allegation, General Isa in a letter by his counsel, Yahaya Mahmood (SAN), faulted the claims of the Army chief.
Isa said it was not true that he had prior knowledge of the attack. He also said he took several steps to safeguard the facility with the spate of attacks of military facilities across the country.
Mahmood said that his client had “before the attack, written several letters of complaints on security challenges facing Jaji such as the barracks is not fenced and there are civilians living within the barracks.”
Mahmood in the letter addressed to a Lagos-based newspaper, “when our client wrote to the Army Headquarters requesting for money to construct 25 Watch Towers and perimeter fence, he was directed to refer the request to the HQ 41DE and NAE which he did.”
The lawyer said that Isa “was not aware, nor had prior knowledge of the bomb blast, for he there would have been no reason or excuse to travel to Asaba for the COAS conference.”
He added that his client “has no knowledge responsible or those behind the media campaign on alleged discrepancies in the recruitment, promotions, postings and retirements in the Army.”
The lawyer explained that “my client, Gen Isa said that he had left for Asaba for the Chief of Army Staff Conference on the day of the blast and learnt of the explosion when he was around Okene town,” he said.
Mahmood said his client, General Isa said that he called the Army Chief but that his call was not responded to. He said he briefed Ihejirika’s ADC and kept updating him on the blast.
“Upon arriving Asaba, Isa briefed the COAS, took permission and left for Jaji. On the 27th of November, 2012, our client issued a convening order, constituting a Board of Inquiry, to investigate and determine the circumstances that led to the bomb blast. On the same day, COAS constituted another Board of Inquiry.
“An order was issued to my client at 6:50pm, on December 13, 2012, to forward his notification of retirement the next day or face compulsory retirement. Our client requested for an extension to allow for completion of the investigation,” Mahmood said.