Gunmen clad in army uniform, in the early hours of Tuesday, invaded the country’s foremost military institution, the Nigerian Defence Academy, Afaka, Kaduna, killing two officers and abducting one.
It was gathered that when the gunmen entered the NDA permanent site along Airport Road, Afaka, in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State around 1am, they came through a broken fence and caught the residents unawares.
It was learnt that the gunmen, who headed in different parts of the premises, caught the officers on duty off guard because they were wearing military uniform.
It was gathered that the situation was worsened by the fact that officers who were manning the institution’s Closed Circuit Television cameras were caught napping and could not raise the alarm when the bandits stormed the academy.
A source stated that the attackers had already wreaked havoc and subdued the few soldiers who tried to resist them by the time residents got to know about the attack.
It was also gathered that the military authorities, who were embarrassed by the invasion, had started compiling the names of errant personnel to be court-martialed.
It was learnt that besides the two officers who were killed, another officer, 2nd Lt Onah, who was injured during the attack, was receiving treatment in a medical facility within the institution.
The officers killed by the gunmen were Lieutenant Commander Wulah and Flight Lieutenant Commander Okoronkwo; while one Major Datong was said to be missing. The gunmen also shot and injured Onah.
A top military officer, stated, “In a Gestapo style, gunmen in military camouflage invaded the NDA, gunning down two officers, a naval officer and an Air Force officer, after gaining access to the well-fortified institution.
“The gunmen came in large numbers. They were fully kitted in military camouflage and forced their way into the academy before proceeding to the officers’ quarters. Their targets were probably the cadets (students).”
Sources explained that the embarrassing attack on the academy could have been foiled if the security guards were alert and vigilant.
Another source stated, “Preliminary findings revealed that the security guards were either asleep or not on duty during the attack. Further investigation will show what aided the attack; whether it was insiders’ connivance, negligence or dereliction of duty by the guards or other extraneous factors or circumstances.”
The military institution is opposite the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, where 39 students were abducted by bandits on March 11, 2021. The bandits had demanded N500m to free the captives a few days after the abduction.
But they were released after spending 50 days in the bandits’ den following the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
Confirming the attack, the NDA spokesman, Major Bashir Jagira, said in a statement on Tuesday that the security architecture of the institution was compromised, hence the gunmen gained access to the well-fortified institution.
He added that the institution, in collaboration with the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, and the Nigerian Air Force’s Training Command had launched a manhunt for the attackers.
The NDA spokesman stated in a statement titled, ‘Security breach of the Nigerian Defence Academy architecture’, that the cadets and the community were safe.
Jagira said, “The security architecture of the Nigerian Defence Academy was compromised early this morning (Tuesday) by unknown gunmen, who gained access into the residential area within the academy in Afaka. During the unfortunate incident, we lost two personnel and one was abducted.
“The academy, in collaboration with the 1 Division, Nigerian Army, and the Air Training Command as well as other security agencies in Kaduna State, has since commenced the pursuit of the unknown gunmen within the general area with a view to tracking them and rescuing the abducted personnel.
“The NDA community and the cadets are safe in the academy. We assure the general public that these unknown gunmen will soon be apprehended and the abducted personnel rescued.”
The attack generated angry reactions from groups, including the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union.
While the pan-northern organisation, the ACF, described the incident as “terrible,” SOKAPU said the attack never came to it as a shock and warned that it would set the stage for what is currently happening in Afghanistan to occur in Nigeria.
The ACF, through its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said the attack highlighted the parlous state of security in the country.
The ACF spokesman spoke with one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Tuesday shortly after the attack.
He said, “It’s a terrible development. It underscores our parlous state of security in Nigeria and the uncountable calls by the ACF and others for something to be done by the government to improve our collective security.
“The latest security breach is another embarrassment to the ACF. The NDA is a proud monument of the efforts of the first generation of northerners, who fought hard to bring development to the North; the likes of Muhammadu Ribadu, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello, who brought the institution to Kaduna. They did not bring it here for our generation to hand it over to bandits or whatever we call them.Follow us on social media