Ahead of the Anambra governorship election, the inspector general of police, IGP Alkali Baba has deployed 100 senior police officers to coordinate and direct security activities before, during and after the election.
This is even as the IGP reassured the nation that the Force is adequately prepared for the gubernatorial election in Anambra State come November 6, 2021.
A breakdown of the deployment showed that DIG Joseph Egbunike was deployed to Anambra as coordinating DIG election duties.
According to Force PRO, CP Frank Mba, “DIG Egbunike is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the Operation Order evolved from the Election Security Threat Assessment, to ensure a peaceful environment devoid of violence and conducive enough to guarantee that law abiding citizens freely perform their civic responsibilities without molestation or intimidation.
“DIG Egbunike will be assisted by the DIG in-charge of Operations, Acting DIG Zaki Ahmed.
“Other Strategic Commanders deployed to Anambra State include five Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), 14 Commissioners of Police, 31 Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) and 48 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs).”The police said the senior officers are to coordinate human and other operational deployments in the three senatorial districts, 21 local government areas and the 5,720 polling units in Anambra State.
Meanwhile, the police have assured that the Force would work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all stakeholders to protect democratic values, provide level playing field for all political actors, ensure adequate protection of voters, INEC personnel and equipment, accredited observers and other key players in Anambra State.
Northern Governors Want Urgent Establishment Of State Police
Meanwhile, the Northern Governors’ Forum (NoGF) has called for the urgent establishment of state police to address the rising spate of insecurity across the country, saying recent happenings show there is a compelling need for it at this time.
Chairman of the Forum and Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong made the call yesterday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit yesterday during a panel discussion on ‘Removing the Binding Constraints to Security: the Subnational Perspective’.
“Talking from the point of the North, initially, we were always against state police, but recent happenings have confirmed that there is a problem. And that problem, first, the number of police and capacity is not there. Our population has increased, and to every population increase, you must also increase the recruitment to meet up with that number. But for many years now, no recruitment of policemen,” Governor Lalong stated.
He also disclosed that the failure of the federal government to grant end-user approval for states to use certain technology-enabled security equipment is making it difficult for the states to fight insecurity, while the people are being killed by the terrorists.
“In some cases, the governor will buy the equipment, the technology, but they will tell you, you don’t have an end-user certificate. And you are waiting for the end-user certificate while your people are being killed every time. Let it be something we can address as quickly as possible,” he said.
Lalong, who acknowledged the fear that some states may not be able to afford the funding of state police, a situation many say would likely increase the level of insecurity if the police officers are not paid, said even without the state police, half of the operations of the Nigerian Police is funded by the governors.
“We are already funding the police,” he pointed out.
The northern governors’ call was supported by Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma who was represented by his deputy, Professor Placid Njoku.
Professor Njoku said the existing policing process must give way to a state police structure.
“And state police structure will more effectively work with communities because the policemen will come from the states and they will ensure there is peace in their areas. I think there is a very important need for state police. Now is the time for it,” the deputy governor said.
Governor Lalong further called for the recruitment of more personnel into the police force.
“If there is not going to be more recruitment into the Nigerian Police, then allow the states to also set up their state police because at the end of the day, there must be a modality on the control of recruitment and use of arms.
On buying arms, he said, “We buy arms. I have Operation Rainbow in my state. “Operation Rainbow has more equipment than the Nigerian Police. They have more equipment. We are even talking about drones. So, the capacity is there. The salaries will be paid as and when due. They will be very happy because they are motivated. We need a lot of motivation for the Nigerian Police; otherwise, set up a committee to look at the possibility of the creation of state police.”
Stating that some of the vigilantes are already bearing arms as a justification for the federal government to approve the establishment of state police, Lalong said, “We have vigilantes all over. And that is also our request – if we say police lack capacity, please allow us to complement that effort. Otherwise, these security challenges vary from state to state.”
He cited instances where some 50 to100 people are killed every day and in highly populated areas but with few low numbers of policemen, he claimed that there are some local government areas with only 20 policemen, a situation, he said, makes it very difficult to police the North and, by extension, the country.
According to Lalong, northern governors had made recommendations to President Buhari for the establishment of state police but that the presidency had failed to act on it.
Lalong also said the eight years of the previous administration in Plateau State was terribly bad.
“When I came into office, Plateau State was a no-go area,” he said, noting that he had to bring the various religious and traditional leaders in the state together to address the crisis that bedeviled the state.
Vigilantes Kill District Head, Brother For Conspiring With Bandits In Niger
The district head of Adogon, Saidu Abubakar, and his younger brother, Salihu Abubakar, were killed yesterday by vigilantes for conspiring with bandits who killed 18 people in a Mosque at Mazakuka.
LEADERSHIP reports that on Monday morning, 18 people were killed and 13 others were abducted at Mazakuka in Mashegu local government area of Niger State.
However, the vigilante group of Mazakuka, in what seems like a reprisal, went after the District Head of Adogon and the brother who, they claimed, had aided and abetted the bandits in the attack..
A source who prefers anonymity told LEADERSHIP that Adogon Malam village is a Fulani-dominated settlement which was alleged to have been harbouring and aiding bandits to attack other villages.
It was learnt that the vigilantes went to Adogon Malam at about 10am and killed the district head and his brother without any security escort.
The source hinted that the people of Mazakuka claimed that only natives were targeted by the bandits while the Fulani were spared by the bandits.
It was further gathered that the situation created tension in the area as the bandits’ attack on Monday was ethnic coloration.
Meanwhile, the commissioner of police in Niger State, Monday Bala Kuryas, who confirmed the attack on Mazakuka village to journalists, said that an unspecified number of worshipers, who were praying at a mosque in the village, were killed and other residents abducted.
The police commissioner, who did not give details about the vigilantes operation, said security agencies shot one of the bandits dead, adding that the attack was said to be a reprisal as a result of a long-standing communal feud..
He, however, sought the support of residents of the rural communities for reliable information that could assist his men to arrest the perpetrators.
The Nigerian Police have confirmed the abduction of seven residents by gunmen at Mazakuka village of Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger State.
CP Monday Kuryas, who confirmed the incident to the media, mentioned that unknown gunmen stormed and attacked Mazakuka village, killing an unspecified number of worshippers who were praying at a mosque and kidnapped seven other residents.
“The gunmen later destroyed property worth millions of naira belonging to one Alhaji Abubakar Maigandus in the village,“ CP Kuryas added.
PMB Promises To End Attacks On Schools
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his government and Education in Emergencies Working Group in Nigeria (EiEWGN) will work together to end attacks on schools and ensure a safe and enabling learning environment.
The president spoke yesterday in Abuja during the fourth international conference on the safe schools declaration with the theme, “Ensuring Safe Education For All: From Commitment to Practice.”
The conference was co-hosted by Nigeria, Spain, Norway and Argentina and was aimed at reviewing progress being made by member states in the quest to make schools safer globally.
One hundred and twelve countries are signatory to the Safe Schools Declaration protocol and Nigeria was among the first 37.
Member states of the UN that endorsed the Safe School Declaration in 2015.
The Conference was the first to be held on the African continent with the previous ones held in Oslo, Norway in 2015, Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2017 and Palma de Mallorca, Spain in 2019.
Buhari, who was represented by his chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari, lamented the persistent attacks on education all over the world, including Nigeria.
He said the incessant attacks on the country’s education system, such as kidnapping, abduction of pupils/students, increased activities of insurgence and general insecurity in schools have exacerbated many factors responsible for the growing number of out-of-school children.
“It is no longer news that, at will, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists invade our educational facilities to abduct the learners in large numbers. Some places that have been hit by this menace include Chibok, Dapchi, Buni Yadi, Afaka, Kagora, and Jangebe in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states respectively.
“It is disheartening to note that even when the abducted students are released the trauma of the incidents remain long in their minds, hence the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support.
“I must tell you that it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect. Moving forward, our faith in the nation is unshaken. We have been strong, determined and robust in order to enhance the security of learning institutions and the occupants therein,” he said.
While reaffirming government primary responsibility of protecting and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels for all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations, he said Nigeria is committed to observing all relevant international protocols, conventions and treaties for the protection of learning institutions and facilities from attack and any other instrument on education which the country has domesticated.
“The Nigerian government is highly committed to prioritising safety in schools to protect investments in the education sector which would validate the endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration (an inter-governmental political agreement that outlines a set of commitments to strengthen the protection of education from attacks and restrict the use of schools and universities for military purposes).”
He further urged the remaining member states of the UN to quickly endorse the Declaration in the course of the Conference to make all learning institutions safe abodes for learners.
“It is my belief that this Conference will go a long way to showcasing the country’s achievements with the support of Education in Emergencies Working Group (EiEWGN) and the relevant Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in Nigeria.
“Let me therefore assure you that the government, relevant security agencies, EiEWGN, and all the relevant stakeholders will continue to work for the promotion of the objectives of this conference, to end attacks on education and to ensure a safe and enabling learning environment,” he added.
On his part, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, represented by the minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the conference was apt and timely in view of the prevailing security challenges in the country.
“It is my belief that the outcome of this Conference will help to strengthen and protect the educational system here in Nigeria and be a win for not just Nigeria but for the global community as well.
“It is my utmost belief that in the course of the Conference, Nigeria will be able to leverage on the best practices in implementing the Safe Schools Declaration, see how new opportunities of collaborations could be utilised to set up preventive measures and provide response mechanisms capable of having a devastating effect on education, if not checked,” he added.