As part of efforts to boost crime fighting in their states, Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Gabriel Suswam (Benue), recently donated a number of Hilux vans and other equipment to the Nigeria Police Force in their various states. Anayo Okolie writes
Nigeria is currently caught in the web of insecurity in such an alarming proportion that it has escalated to violent crimes which have claimed several innocent lives in the country either through armed robbery attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and organised bombings. Every state of the country has had its fair share of the spate of insecurity, which has manifested in various forms.
However, Edo State is a geographical crossroads of Northern, Western, Eastern and Southern roads which in effect has turned the state into a veritable stage point for inter-regional criminals which compounded the challenges of insecurity in the state. In a bid to address the challenges of crime fighting in the country, Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko and their Benue State counterpart, Gabriel Suswam, recently donated a number of Hilux vans fitted with communication gadgets to the police.
Speaking during a recent hand over of the vans to the Acting Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, in Edo State, Oshiomhole said the donation of the vans was his administration’s efforts at reinforcing the police to fight crimes effectively.
The governor said 150 vehicles had been given to the state Police Command since he assumed office, adding that police officers required the right tools and gadgets to fight crime. He added that politicians should stop politicising security issues, which he said, was an issue of concern to all Nigerians.
According to him, to politicize it is to trivialize serious national issue. “When it comes to security, all of us must sink political differences and rise in unison against crime and criminality. We want to reinforce the capacity of the police to fight and defeat crime in Edo State,” he said.
Commending Abubakar’s effort since he assumed office, Oshiomhole said, “your appointment has raised our expectations that under your leadership the police will be more efficient and more effective in dealing with crime. We have enjoyed very warm relationship with the Police Command in Edo State.
“We have been able to develop a very friendly environment that has enabled the various arms of security agencies working together they have made some difference. They have also made a lot of sacrifices. We remain resolved that criminals have no chance of winning this battle, they must be wiped off. Police alone cannot fight crime; these
criminals live in communities so we should provide information about these criminals to compliment the efforts of the security agents.”
Speaking further, Oshiomhole commended the efforts of security agents in the state in fighting kidnapping and other criminals. He said the people hoped that the vehicles would further ensure security and assist more in effective policing of the state. Oshiomhole disclosed that he had confidence in the ability of the acting Inspector General of Police to reposition the police force and stressed that the officers and men required the right tools and gadgets to fight crime effectively, especially in this digital age.
The governor advised members of the public to always provide information about crime just as he enjoined politicians to stop politicising security issues as, according to him, it was the concern of all.
Receiving the vehicles on behalf of Edo State Police Command, Abubakar warned the command over the misuse of the vehicles. “These vehicles were bought primarily for safety and security of Edo State and must not be put for other use than the purpose for which they were bought. The acting IGP warned those who would make use of
the vehicles never to apply them to intimidate, harm or harass the citizens, warning that “any officer found violating this order would face sanctions.”
Abubakar also called on other state governors to emulate the kind gesture of Oshiomhole by providing vehicles and other communication equipment to enable the police improve on the security of the people. The acting IGP commended Oshiomhole on the earlier donations he had made to the police when he was in the state as AIG Zone 5.
Abubakar said the present police force must be in tune with modern realities. The IG said there was nothing to worry about regarding the warning by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on plans to bomb some places in the North.
He noted that the reformation of the police would take some time, adding that police officers would be properly trained. He said police officers would no longer participate in sport competitions to enable them keep the pace in crime fighting.
“Sports and crime cannot go together. Sports is on the hold for now. We have produced the best in sports. We produced Chioma Ajunwa, Samuel Peter and others. Till date, nobody has been able to beat our record,” he said.
He also called on state governors to assist the Nigerian police for effective policing of the country with the provisions of security equipment and vehicles to support the force. However, he further commended Oshiomhole and the other state governors for their assistance to the security agencies.
He ordered the Edo State Commissioner of police, Olayinka Balogun to ensure that the vehicles were not diverted to other purposes. He assured that the vehicles would help further reduce the rate of crime in the state. He added that: “officers who are going to be involved in any operational exercise must be polite, must be respectful, must have the
honour and integrity and must follow the rule of law. Any officer who violates, discriminates, molest or harass any citizen, will be punished by law.”
Similarly, the acting IG also appealed to the media not to always condemn the police as he said the media should be partners in the fight to fix Nigeria, adding that the abuse of human rights would not be tolerated from any police officer no matter his rank. Informing the police officers on how to behave in public, Abubakar said, “you must be civil, you must not harass and intimidate citizens but must operate within the confines of the law and protect them. We will no longer condone any form of recklessness or abuse of human rights from any officer no matter his rank or position in the force.”
Abubakar posited that the donation had further cemented the relationship between the police force and the states government. He assured the governors and Nigerians that the vehicles and logistics would be judiciously utilised for effective policing of the state and charged the state commissioners of police to redouble efforts towards improving security in the state.
However, he warned the police orderlies to stop carrying handbags belonging to politicians or their principals. This came just as the IG cautioned federal highway patrol policemen against mounting roadblocks, adding that they were ordered back to the highways to ease traffic congestion, assist accident victims, fight armed robbery and other acts of criminality.
According to Abubakar, the era of assigning more than two police orderlies to anybody that applied was over. He added that the force had put mechanism and monitoring gadgets in place to monitor and arrest those carrying bags for their principals and added: “So, VIP should take note that when we give them orderlies, they are not supposed to be turn into house boys and house girls.”
Abubakar commended the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for re-equipping the police force in the country, saying in the 21st Century policing, the police had created a department where Deputy
Inspector-General would be in charge of Info-tech. He said, the info-tech device would monitor the activities of people and anything that had to do with Internet, computers and the modern world of technology that could be used to track vehicles. Abubakar said he would create police that serve the people, respect and would
be there for the people of Nigeria.
He noted that Nigeria remained the only country in the world where the people castigate their police. “We want to see a shift on that; we want to accept criticisms that are real, realistic in nature because we want to change, not just for somebody to sit down and accuse the police that they have not done this or that,” he added.
With the recent donation of Hilux vans to the Police Commands in Sokoto, Benue and Edo states, many believe that the policing in those states will have a new face and should be able to fight crime. The donation of the vehicles and equipment in Benue and Sokoto states were done at separate ceremonies where the acting IGP chastised his officers and men to use them judiciously. At the ceremonies, Governors Suswam and Wamako had pledged their continued support for the police force in the fight against crimes.