The Nigeria Police Force has assured families of policemen and officers that they would not be abandoned should they pay the supreme price in the line of duty.
The police authorities gave this assurance while denying reports that they had abandoned the corpses of the seven policemen killed recently in Abuja for the families to bury.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police commissioner, Sadiq Bello, who made the denial while responding allegations from some family members of the slain policemen, said the FCT minister, Mallam Muhammed Bello, would fund the burial of the seven policemen. Bello said: “I have contacted the minister of FCT and he has graciously approved money for the families of the deceased both for the burial and for the families to have something at certain point.
I will confirm if we have the money, and when we are ready to go and disburse it, the media will be carried along.”
Also, Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, said that IGP Ibrahim Idris had commiserated with the families of the seven policemen and had directed that all their allowances and benefits are paid to their families, in addition to befitting burials for them.
LEADERSHIP Sunday findings show that one of the victims, Zekeri Adejoh, had already been buried according to Islamic rites.
A family member who does not want his name mentioned said Adejoh was buried in Ugbamake Utah village in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Two others, Inspector James Amedu from Benue State, who was married and had three children, and Sergeant Osahon Asikoko Paul, also married with three kids, were buried yesterday.
Jimoh revealed the inspector general of police had set up a team of specialised investigation detectives, police scene of crime experts and Technical Intelligence Unit of the force to investigate the ambush and killing of the policemen.
Meanwhile, five people have already been arrested in the ongoing investigation.
The specialised team is headed by an seasoned investigator, CP Bala Ciroma, and he would be assisted by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of the IGP Special Tactical Squad (STS); DCP, Department of Operations, FCT Police Command; DCP, Police Forensic Department; DCP, Police Central Criminal Registry; assistant commissioner of police (ACP), 2I/C IGP Intelligence Response Team; ACP, Federal SARS, and Chief Superintendent of Police, IGPSEC. The Force PRO further revealed that the team has a time frame of 21 days to complete the assignment.
“The mandates of the specialised investigation team include thorough and discreet investigation of the ambush and killing of seven policemen while on duty on 2nd July, 2018, by armed robbers/bandits at Galadimawa roundabout, Federal Capital Territory; unravel, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the killings; detect the motives behind the ambush and killing of the seven policemen; work with the Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory in the investigation of the incident. Meanwhile, just as the federal government and the leadership of the Nigerian Police Force are battling to calm frayed nerves following the gruesome murder of seven policemen in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the protest by mobile policemen in Borno State, some officers have begun to lobby their bosses to avoid being posted to flashpoints as well as violence ravaged areas in the North-East, LEADERSHIP Sunday has gathered.
Our investigation revealed that fear has gripped mobile policemen, especially those popularly known in security parlance as ‘pin-down’ over fear of possible attacks on them by men of the underworld who, they insist, have better logistics and sophisticated arms.
Some of the officers have threatened to quit the jobs of providing internal security if they fail in their bid to be exempted as they pointed out that receiving letters of redeployment to flashpoints, liberated areas and other sensitive violence-ravaged areas amounted to being handed their death warrants.
It was learnt that after the killing of seven policemen at their duty post by suspected gunmen around the Galadimawa area of the FCT, the police authorities have announced plans to increase deployment of officers within the city centre and entry points into the FCT and other areas considered as flashpoints nationwide, especially liberated areas in the North East and North Central.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that some policemen have started lobbying to be exempted from the planned deployment, with many of them seeking the help of their commissioners of police and other influential senior officers both at the state commands and the force headquarters to avoid the posting.
A senior police officer confided in our correspondents that some policemen had indeed been lobbying not to be posted to the flashpoints, a situation he described as “normal”.
“Terrified officers have indeed been trying to lobby but if I must tell you the truth, only those who have strong connection with the Inspector-General of Police or other very high ranking officers are likely to be successful in their exemption hustle,” she said. LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that officers have resorted to paying homage and declaring their loyalty to their superiors, and that 80 per cent of policemen usually posted to the North East are usually the rank and file, particularly those who have stepped on their bosses’ toes. Another police officer who said he had been having sleepless nights for fear of being posted to one of the liberated areas in the insurgency-ravaged North-East said: “Superiors, who want to be treated as gods, often send names of faces they do not like to the commissioner of police to be transferred, and they will have to serve a minimum of three years before they get another transfer. I’m trembling because I have had issues with my immediate boss after I challenged him on matters bordering on ethics.”
Some policemen told our correspondents that they had indeed been lobbying their way out of the deployment plan. A Chief Superintendent of Police who simply gave his name as Igoh Ademankpa said most of the rank and file cadre in the force would rather resign than be deployed to the North East. According to him, most policemen avoid such postings because they are inadequately equipped to fight insurgency. Ademankpa said, “I don’t think anyone of them who wants to go to the troubled region. A good number of officers who were transferred to flashpoints in the past resigned immediately.” LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that their reluctance is because Boko Haram insurgents and armed herdsmen fight with Uzis (Israeli-made machineguns), armoured tanks and other sophisticated weapons while police officers are sent to fight them with Hilux vans and AK 47 guns.
It was also learnt that the deployed policemen are hardly ever equipped with the necessary gear for their dangerous assignment.
One policeman who spoke on condition of anonymity described how it was colleagues of slain policemen that sometimes contribute money to buy coffins for their burial.
An Assistant Superintendent of Police in the Cross River State Police Command who gave his name as Emame Iwa said he was already lobbying his superiors in the office to avoid being part of the officers to be deployed to the flashpoints. He described Nigeria as unworthy of such sacrificial service.
He said, “I recognise the fact that I am somebody’s son, husband, father and brother. My people are so dear to me. I have aged parents to cater for. To this effect, I will do everything to lobby my way out of such a posting. I don’t mind any amount that it would cost me. How can I be happy to be transferred from where I am enjoying relative peace?
“I have lost close associates who paid the supreme price trailing cultists, armed robbers and dangerous kidnappers. Their families, as I speak, are languishing in abject poverty. The police force and state government are yet to fulfil promises they made to their families. I can’t imagine my family being subjected to shame. I am aware that a man must die but it should be at the appointed time.”
Giving insight into some of the deprivations the policemen suffer, he said, “Normally, when someone is transferred to a place like the North East, he is entitled to some allowances and accommodation for 22 days because it is assumed that he will need time to settle down. It is what our constitution says, but we don’t enjoy anything like that.”
ASP Iwa, who recalled the drama that trailed the protest by officers serving in “sensitive areas over their legitimate earnings” expressed fear that the officers in question may be secretly laid off for the exposing their plight. “I heard policemen risking their lives in the North East on special duty are supposed to be paid N10,000 monthly allowance aside their salary,” he added.
Asked why he chose to lobby when the planned posting was yet to be carried out, a sergeant in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Imo State Police Command said, “Nobody waits till postings and redeployments are out before they start lobbying not to be posted to unsafe states. My dear, don’t forget the adage which says, ‘make hay while the sun shines’. We all find a way to warm up to our superiors so that they could help us when posting comes.”
An Assistant Superintendent of Police at Ebonyi State Command, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed the situation. He said, “Our people will do anything to avoid being posted to the North East and other flashpoints because policemen die like chickens there. The weapons are bad, yet you expect people to be happy about being posted to such a war zone with torchlight as against arrows and explosives.” Another policeman, a corporal in the anti-robbery unit of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the Ekiti State Police Command, explained that even though he had no information about impending redeployment to any flashpoint in the country, “it is a prospect that would naturally depress any officer.
He said, “It is like receiving your death warrant if you receive a letter redeploying you to any of the North East states or other flashpoints in the Country. I am personally afraid of something like that. It is not that I am a coward. I am a human like you.”
Another policeman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “If we hear that anyone is posted to the North East, or places like Taraba, Benue, Adamawa and Zamfara, the news immediately makes us think of death, while our family members commence mourning , wailing and fasting the avert the looming doom.” He recalled how one of his colleagues, who was posted to Borno State in 2016, was killed within six months of arriving there. Meanwhile, some terrified members of the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) have vowed to pray their husbands’ names out of the planned deployment list, stressing that they would rather have their husbands jobless at home than lose them to heartless life wasters.
While some of them from the various police barracks visited by our correspondents bluntly demanded adequate welfare package, including life insurance for their husbands if they must be compulsorily transferred to the trouble states, others insisted they would rather be wives of dismissed policemen than widows.
Nyanya, Abuja-based Mrs. Blessing Jigba, whose husband is a sergeant currently serving at Ogun State Command, said the insurance package would help the family in case of unforeseen circumstances.
She said, “My prayer is that my husband is not sent to such a place. But I know the nature of his work, anything can happen. He has served in six states since we got married 13 years ago. So, I would be deceiving myself if I think he could not be posted to any part of the country. “But in this case, it is not a normal situation. We need to have insurance. The welfare package should be increased in case of anything. I tell you, you need to see how people are hurriedly and disgracefully evicted out of the barracks whenever their spouses die.” Another officer’s wife who gave her name as Mrs. K. Idoko said, “ it is not out of place to demand special treatment for families of policemen sent to dangerous areas. She revealed that a family friend, whose husband died after falling off a Unity Fountain -bound operational vehicle recently in Abuja, was yet to receive a kobo. She said, “The chance that our husbands will return home alive is very slim, so they should have proper insurance packages to cater for their families. Ikemi Ndem, wife of a police inspector, who was visibly trembling said, “My husband would not proceed on any transfer whether the death sentence package is improved or not. We are ready to vacate the barracks even today rather than join the widows’ club.
“My beloved husband would rather stay back home than go there and get killed for nothing. We have already discussed it and, thank God, he agreed.”
A security expert, Mr. Ezin Nkponta, advised government to start tackling the underlying factors that result in the killing of police officers and to also improve the strategic management and internal accountability capacity that will support professional policing
Nkponta, who described the recent killing of seven armed policemen as a national crisis, noted that over the past eight months, the media have carried several stories about the killing of members of the Nigerian Police in violence-ravaged areas. He described the killing of police officials in Benue, Zamfara, Borno, Adamawa and Taraba, among other states, as a serious and continuing problem, noting that hundreds of policemen have been killed in the line of duty. He therefore called for mandatory life sentences for those found guilty of murdering policemen, just as he urged policemen to always respond by defending themselves using the ‘maximum force’ allowed by law. Another security expert, Adewole Akin, argued that while all people who are outraged by the killing of police officials would support these measures, they are unlikely to lead to the improved safety of police officers or reduce the numbers of police officers who are killed.
He maintained that the use of force is an inherent characteristic of police work everywhere in the world. According to him, both the deaths of police officers on duty and police brutality against civilians are well-known occupational hazards. He said, “ It is therefore not surprising that the measures required to reduce threats to the lives of police officers are, in many instances, the same as those required to prevent police brutality. Certainly, both challenges require police leaders to improve the overall management of the use of force by police officers.
“This can be done if the underlying factors that result in the killing of police officials, and the use of brutal force (including torture) by the police, are properly identified. Only then can effective measures be taken to address both problems simultaneously.”
No Personnel Can Reject Posting – Police
When asked if any police personnel have a right to reject posting, a senior Police officer who craved anonymity, said no policeman can reject posting.
He went further to say that any rank and file that does not report to his or her place of posting within 21 days is declared a police deserter.
IGP Places CPs, Police Personnel On Red-alert
The inspector general of police, IGP Ibrahim Idris has ordered all commissioners of police in charge of state commands and their supervising assistant inspectors general of police and other police formations nationwide to be on red alert with immediate effect to prevent crimes and criminalities in their states. This directive from the IGP follows the recent ambush and killing of seven policemen at Galadimawa roundabout, FCT, Abuja on the 2nd July, 2018 by armed bandits. Force PRO, Jimoh Moshood, in a statement last night, said “there is the need to beef up security throughout the country to enhance and ensure adequate security and protection of lives and properties across the nation. “To this end, the assistant inspectors-general of police in charge of zonal commands and commissioners of police in state commands are under strict instruction of the IGP to re-jig their crime prevention and control strategies, and carry out massive deployment of police personnel and logistics to strengthen security in their AOR and deal decisively with suspected criminal elements.
“Particular attention is to be placed on places of worship, schools, markets, venues of recreation and other public spaces to forestall any untoward incident. The ongoing raids of criminal hideouts and black spots will be sustained throughout the country. Show of Force exercise and confidence building patrols will also be embarked upon.”
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