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FLASHBACK: How Soldiers Killed 3 Policemen to Free Firearms Dealer Wadume

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FLASHBACK: How Soldiers Killed 3 Policemen to Free Firearms Dealer Wadume

On Sunday, Hamisu Bala, popularly known as Wadume, received a hero’s welcome in his home town of Ibi, Taraba State.

Wadume had served a jail term “for escaping from lawful custody and unlawfully dealing in prohibited firearms”.

According to reports, a respectable number of Ibi residents danced around the town carrying leaves and painting their faces with chalk in jubilation.

Prior to his 2022 sentencing, however, Wadume was known to be a Taraba State-based kidnapping kingpin who operated across the northeast, northwest and north-central states of Nigeria.

Wadume was also known to be a prominent supplier of arms and ammunition to terrorists in the northeastern part of the country and cattle rustlers across the north.

When he was first arrested by the police in 2019, there was a remarkably bloody incident.


On August 6, 2019, Wadume was first arrested by Nigerian Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Ibi, Taraba State.

While being taken to Abuja for interrogation, however, the police team conveying him was attacked by a team of soldiers manning a checkpoint in Takum, Taraba State.

In the process, three policemen and two civilians lost their lives, and Wadume was set free.

Five other police officers were also seriously injured during the attack.

While explaining the reason for their action before a joint panel probing the incident, the military said they were alerted that the occupants of the vehicle were kidnappers who had just abducted Wadume from his house and were taking him to their hideout.

Interestingly, the police stated clearly that the military was duly informed of the operation beforehand.

It was later revealed that Tijani Balarabe, an army captain, had engaged in several phone conversations with Wadume prior to the incident at the checkpoint.

Wadume would also later confess that Balarabe had always been on his payroll.

On August 19, 2019, Wadume was re-arrested at his new hideout in Latin Mai Allo Hotoro, Kano State.

Investigations showed that Balarabe had engaged Wadume in several phone conversations prior to the deadly assault on the IRT convoy at the Takum checkpoint.

Call logs also revealed phone calls between Wadume, Balarabe and some police officers attached to Ibi Police Station.

Wadume and Balarabe allegedly exchanged about 191 phone calls during the period.

In a statement, Balarabe said Wadume once gave him fish worth N50,000 and N200,000 to repair a patrol van that was having mechanical problems.

It was also revealed at the panel that Balarabe, while “releasing” Wadume, had used a spoon to uncuff him.

After he was recaptured, Mohammed Adamu, the then Inspector-General of Police, on February 3, 2020, took Wadume to court on 13 counts bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms.

In the end, Wadume was only convicted of two out of the 13 counts brought against him by the police.


This happened after the police’s prosecution team failed to prove the charges of kidnapping brought against him.


Investigations carried out by the police during the period revealed that Wadume and his gang once kidnapped one Usman Garba in Takum.

The incident was said to have happened on February 16, 2019.

After allegedly receiving N106 million out of the N200 million ransom they demanded from Garba’s relatives, however, they killed him, according to the police.


Wadume contested for a seat in the Taraba State House of Assembly in 2019.

During the period, he vied for the position of an assembly member representing the Ibi Local Government Area.

He did this under the platform of the Young Democratic Party (YDP).

He, however, later defected from the YDP to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the same year.



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