Barnabas Vwa Jabilla; with the operational nickname of Sergeant Rogers. Barnabas was a non-commissioned officer of the Strike Force, an anti-terrorist outfit of the Presidency set up in 1994 under the headship of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha[i]. Rogers was the man at the centre of the heinous crimes committed under the Abacha dictatorship. In his testimony before the Lagos high court in January, 2000 Rogers had seriously indicted Lt. General Bamayi who was Chief of Defense Staff and others standing trial of conspiring together on the attempted murder of news publisher Alex Ibru in Lagos in 1996, as well as the arson visited on the premises of The Guardian newspapers[ii].
For his roles and duties under Al- Mustapha during the General Abacha regime, he was detained shortly after resumption of power of the new Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar. Sergeant Rogers was the principal prosecution witness at the arson and attempted murder trial of [iii]. Barnabas and second prosecution witness, Mohammed Abdul aka Katako later recanted their incriminating testimonies, hence the evidence given by them could no longer be relied upon. Ultimately, the appellate court in Abuja discharged and acquitted Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan of the murder charges for lack of evidence.
Barnaba’s father, Vwa Jabilla was born in Ngurthavu (Multafu), formerly in Adamawa State but later merged with Borno State. Vwa first attended my primary school (1st January 1945), in Ngurthavu, then finished in Lassa (in 1947). Neglecting to go to the secondary school, he worked in Lassa General Hospital (Askira/Uba Local Government Council), where he worked for 10 years, until 1959 before he joined the police on New Year’s Day, 1960. Jabilla in 1979 built his house in Damboa, Borno State. At the height of his career, he was one of those colourful artists, who rode as police outriders for the military rulers. His last military ruler was General Olusegun Obasanjo. Jabilla retired from the police as a Superintendent of Police.
Barnabas has ten siblings, six males. Immediate elder brother, Ananda is an auto-mechanic. Younger brother, also a soldier, served in Sierra Leone. Rogers fetched firewood for the family with his father’s pick-up van often parked in front years before he joined the army. He and his siblings were brought up as Christians. Their mother, described the elder as a “superwoman” lived with them too. Barnabas is married to Priscilla.
Born in 1969, Barnabas attended Government Secondary School, Konduga, Borno State. He was quiet and the most disciplined of his siblings with whom he grew up in Damboa[iv].
[i] TELL January 24, 2000
[ii] TELL April 10, 2000
[iii] TELL April 17, 2000
[iv] TELL April 3, 2000