About two weeks after he was seized from from his Abuja home, the whereabouts of Zakari Biu, the embattled police commissioner, who is facing a probe over the escape of a key Boko Haram suspect, is unknown.
His colleagues, friends and family members contacted Monday said they do not know where Mr. Biu is being kept.
Mr. Biu Commissioner was the commissioner in charge of police investigations into Boko Haram activities. He ran into trouble after Kabir Sokoto, a Boko Haram kingpin the police said masterminded the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa Church, Madalla, Niger State, escaped while in the custody of his team members.
Mr. Sokoto was reportedly escorted by six armed police officers to his house in Abaji, a suburb of Abuja, for a search when he bolted.
Mr. Biu was later queried, suspended from duties and then placed under house arrest.
But Premium Times learnt on Monday that the police officer was taken away by armed Army officers 10 days ago.
Since then, friends and family members say they have not set eyes on him and have tried in vain to trace where he was taken, as none of the country’s security agencies seem to know his whereabouts.
A source had told Premium Times that the police officer was being detained at one of the army barracks in Abuja.
But army authorities denied Mr. Biu was in its custody.
Director, Army Public Relations, Raphael Isah, a major general, said the army have had nothing to do with the embattled officer.
“If he is with the army I would have said so”, Mr. Isah declared. “He’s not with the Nigerian army as far as I know. I don’t know his whereabouts,” he said the first time our reporter called.
When the reporter called again for further clarification, Mr. Isah was emphatic in his response. “I am confirming to you now that he (Biu) is not with us,” he said.
Premium Times checks at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, also yielded no fruit Monday as the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Oluyemi Ajayi, said the officer had long ceased to be in police custody.
“He is no longer with the Police,” Mr. Ajayi said. “His case is now under investigation by the special security unit set up by the Federal Government in the wake of the unexpected escape of the Boko Haram suspected bombing mastermind.”
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Owoye Azazi, had set up the special security panel of senior military and police officers as well as officers from the ministry of defence and other security agencies, with a mandate to establish how and why Mr. Sokoto slipped away.
Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, who is privy to the operations of the special security panel, was not available to answer questions when our reporter called his telephone on Monday.
One of his aides, who answered our call on his behalf also to provide answers to our enquiries on the telephone.