Police on suicide mission? By Ben Okezie

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“This is an age in which one cannot find common sense without a search warrant.” George Frederick William, American political commentator and a popular regular columnist for the Washington Post, was absolutely correct with the above quote as if had Nigeria police in mind.

Indeed, in present day Nigeria, common sense is on annual leave and has left many parading the streets like naked madmen.

Common sense, most time helps to guide mankind from straying away. No wonder the wise would say, common sense is not common. Cap a man with common sense and you have succeeded in endowing him with basic wisdom.

Last week, the news broke from the Force headquarters that the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, Mr lbrahim Idris had deployed two thousand armed mobile police men to fight insurgency with the Nigerian Army at the Borno war front.

This asymmetric war has been on for 10 years and had already claimed the lives of so many security and military personnels whose constitutional duty it is to wage war on any external aggression on the country.

Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood while trying to justify the police stand, made reference to Section 4 of the Police Act and Regulations which states thus: “The police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and shall perform such duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by or under the authority of this or any other Act” .

That Mr. lbrahim ldris has been in office since June 26, 2016 and he is scheduled to retire on January 15,2019 which is barely few days to his exiting the police force.

One, therefore, wonders why he is now realising that the police is now “well trained” to be deployed to the war front, as if that is not suicide mission beckoning .

Going by the police act, one question to be asked is: “Is the police going there with Ak-47 to “apprehend” sophisticated terrorist? Or is the police intention intertwined with the act when it announced “joining the military at the war front”.

Reading through the press statement credited to Mr. Moshood, a very wrong and misleading impression was deliberately created.

What the police succeeded in doing to the public Psyche is planting false impression that its personnels are indeed at the warfront with the soldiers fighting hand in gloves, when in truth the police is at the periphery of the war. In fact many recaptured areas by the military are yet to be handed over to the police because of past situations, when policemen flee at the sight of the terrorists. On one of my official fact finding trips to Sambisa forest and other recaptured local government areas in Borno state, it was discovered that no police officer was sighted around the war zone but inside the town of Maiduguri, principally at checking points.

No one is downplaying the supportive role of the police in ensuring the enforcement of adequate security inside the state, but it is absolute falsehood to announce that policemen are on the same line with the military at the war front. Even despite the visible presence of the police, the terrorists still navigate into the municipal area, detonating bomb and abducting innocent residents. Yet, the police claimed it is fighting the war with the military.

It is very unfortunate when institutions like the police would want to take credit despite its inactions. Was it not the same police that abandoned several of its personnels drafted to Maiduguri and almost deprived them of their allowances until they embarked on demonstration, yet the police denied their demonstration noting that they merely marched to the police headquarter to demand for their allowances. We know the difference between “Marching” and “Demonstration”. Common sense should have guided the police to know that Nigerians and most especially the people of Borno know the history of the insurgency. The bad handling of the case brought before it by the military when it helped to arrest the Boko Haram leader Muhammed Yusuf and the police “incompetence” at the state level mismanaged the case and unfortunately it snowball into the deadly attacks witnessed since then.

No one has dared to carry out any internal inquest nor has any government the statistics of dead security personnels and civilians.

In my last exclusive interview with Mr Damian Chukwu who is the Police Commissioner, he affirmed that so far, over three thousand police men and women have been killed by Boko Haram sect in the state of Borno. He lamented that some were due to the none fencing of police stations located close to the roads, which made it possible for terrorists to easily strike and cause damages. Till date the police is yet to construct the fences, yet Mr lbrahim visited the state.

Mr. Chukwu further disclosed that what the police does is only to help maintain security inside the town of Maiduguri and other recaptured areas by the military. According to him,” the military has to first inform the police that it is safe to handover recaptured area, before we move into the area.

One therefore wonder who the police was trying to impress, the government or Nigerians. It is high time the police stopped playing on the senses of Nigerians. We are aware that each time there is an election, the police is always quick to announce mind blowing figures of alleged number of its personnels drafted to the venue. When the police claim it deployed ten thousand personnels for an operation, it has been discovered that the number claimed is never in tandem with the number of personnels actually deployed. The truth is that, someone is not been truthful because of the monetary aspect of the operation. This is corruption and it has to stop, if actually the change mantra is still alive. l suggest that crime journalist’s should be allowed to verify every of such deployments.

That the police claimed the deployment of the additional mobile force personnel was “for purely Military Duties to fight Boko Haram insurgency under the Operation Lafiya Dole”, sounds as if tge police had always been fighting the war with the military. The correct word should have been” the police would assist the military in their effort in fighting the insurgency”. It is the man inside the kitchen that can claim full knowledge of the heat and not the man in the other room as the police.

To further give perception that are not truthful, the police further noted in its press release that “The deployment is also to support the strength of the Military to defeat the Boko Haram Insurgency”.

Nigerians deserve some credibility in reasoning. Why would the police play on the intelligence of ordinary Nigerians by dishing out informations that are contradictory. The police claimed it would send hundred sniffer dogs and helicopters and the question is, where are the dogs and where are the helicopters, are we referring to the unserviceable helicopters at the Abuja airport or are we referring to those grounded helicopter at the Lagos airport? What would it benefit the police if it gains the president’s face and loose the confidence of Nigerians. Interestingly the police claimed it has deployed several personnels on Counter Terrorism Units , Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Units (CTU), Anti-Bomb Squad (EOD), Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS, conventional Police and Sniffer Dogs plus the deployment of Police Airwing Surveillance Helicopters. Could these be true?

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