Five Nigerian soldiers have been declared wanted by the Nigerian Army after they absconded with a large amount of cash owned by a ‘VIP’ (Very Important Personality).
According to PREMIUM TIMES, the victim of the robbery is Hakeem Otiki, the general officer commanding, 8 Division of the Army, based in Sokoto.
Nigerian Army insider indentified the five soldiers as Gabriel Oluwaniyi, a corporal; Mohammed Aminu, a corporal; Commander Haruna, a lance corporal; Oluji Joshua, a lance corporal; and Hayatudeen Abubakar, a lance corporal.
Sources said the soldiers were detailed on July 11 by Mr. Hakeem Otiki, a major general leading the military operation against bandits in Nigeria’s troubled Northwest, to escort huge cash to Abuja.
The source of the money and exactly where it was being taken to in Abuja remained unclear.
However, it was gathered that after they escorted the cash from Sokoto to the Nigerian Army airstrip in Jaji, Kaduna State, the soldiers refused to load the money into a military jet that was supposed to airlift it to Abuja.
The VIP (said to be Mr Otiki) was said to be in a convoy of white Toyota Hilux truck while the soldiers were in the gun truck during the roughly 400 kilometres journey.
According to our sources, on arrival at Jaji, the five uniformed men — two corporals and three lance corporals — connived amongst themselves to share the cash. They then deserted military service, sources said.
“They also removed all their uniforms and abandoned their rifles in the vehicles at the air strip in Jaji,” a top military source with details of the incident said.
It was not immediately clear how much the cash was, but military sources estimated it ran into billions.
An aggressive manhunt has been launched to track them down and escort them back to their base for prosecution.
Their last known locations have been identified with geolocation equipment, a source said.
The Army had also commenced efforts to freeze their bank accounts amidst the manhunt.
The spokespersons for the Nigerian Army Headquarters in Abuja and the 8 Division Headquarters in Sokoto were not immediately available for comments when reached out on Sunday.
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