Death is a leveller; it is no respecter of status or privileges. When death calls, it makes mess of human ambitions and reduces man to a mere lifeless and hopeless body, a corpse. And on Tuesday, former Chief of Defence Staff and former Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh, was cut down in a hail of bullets from unknown gunmen while returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi Road.
Childhood And Education
Alex Sabundu Badeh was born on January 10, 1957 in Vimtim, a little town in Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State. His parents were peasant farmers. He attended Vimtim Primary School and proceeded to Villanova Secondary School. Having obtained his school certificate from Villanova secondary school in 1976, he proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy.
Badeh was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 21 Regular Course on 3 January 1977 and commissioned a Pilot Officer on 3 July 1979. He attended the junior staff course at the Armed Forces command and staff college in 1988. He moved a rung higher on the ladder of his military career when, between 1995 and 1996, he attended the senior staff course at the same institution. After one year at the National War College in Nigeria, he graduated in August 2006 as a member of Course 14. He went to the University of Ibadan and earned an M. Sc. degree in Strategic Studies from the prestigious. He became the Chief Of Air Staff in October 2012, serving in that capacity till April 2014 when he was made the Chief Of Defence Staff by the then President Goodluck Jonathan.
Alex Badeh And The EFCC
The late Chief of Defence Staff was charged, together with Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, with a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2015. He allegedly abused his office as the CDS by using the dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja. After conducting search on a house located at No. 6, Ogun Rivers Street, Maitama, Abuja belonging to Badeh; a sum of $1million cash was recovered in his wardrobe. The EFCC presented a video evidence to a Fedearal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang on Wednesday, February 22,2017. However, despite this, Badeh , through his lawyer, Lasun Sanusi,(SAN), pleaded not guilty and denied involvement in any misconduct. Upon discovery of fresh evidence, Badeh was re-arraigned by the anti-graft agency on July 4, 2018, on an amended 14-count charge bordering on money laundering, which he also pleaded not guilty to. He was scheduled to open his defence on January 16, 2019.
That Terrorist Attack in Vintim, Thought Of Conspiracy And Other Stuff
While still serving as the Chief defence Staff, in October 2014, Boko Haram fighters briefly attacked Vintim, Badeh's hometown. The attack left many casualities in its trail; people were wounded, lives lost and property destroyed. Badeh lost his cousin and his house was set ablaze. However, some people were of the opinion that Badeh was in the know of the attack even before it took place. It was widely reported in the media that Badeh sent a helicopter to evacuate his parents minutes before the attack. Badeh, however, debunked the claim by saying he had lost his parents before the attack. With the death of Badeh, there have been insinuations of conspiracy and vendetta in some quarters. It will be recalled that Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, the man probing the Arms Purchase for Boko Haram, was found dead some time last year in his room. And earlier this year, ex-intelligence Chief of the Army and Chief of Administration, Defence Heaquarters, Major General Idris Akali was killed and buried in a shallow grave in Jos.
His Sons' Lavish Lifestyle
One of the highlights of Badeh's corruption trial was the revelation of the lavish lifestyles of his sons. Salisu Abdullahi, a retired Air Commodore and former Director of Finance of the Nigeria Air Force, said in court in March 2016 that Badeh instructed him to buy houses for two of his sons in a highbrow area of Abuja, while he was Chief of Air Staff. For his first son, Badeh bought a house at Wuse 2 at N260m, renovated it with N60m and furnished it with N90m; that’s N410m. Guess what? Badeh’s second son turned down a house worth N340m; and because of that, a second house worth N330m had to be bought for him. That’s a massive N770m!
Unfortunately for Badeh, he is no longer alive to prove his innocence. And this is what he would likely be remember for — because in the court of the Nigerian public, officials battling corruption charges are guilty until proven innocent by the court, not the other way. May Badeh's soul rest in peace.