Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar
•Police commissioner summoned over missing 12 policemen
By Ndubuisi Francis, Yemi Akinsuyi and Segun James
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered the immediate arrest of the killers of 12 policemen in Bayelsa State.
The policemen were recently killed along the waterways in Azuzama community in Southern Ijaw area of the state on their way to secure the burial ceremony of the mother of an ex-militant.
Two separate groups, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), and the General Jasper Adaka Boro (Jnr)-led group had earlier claimed responsibility for the death of the policemen.
While addressing journalists Monday at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, the IG, who was represented by the Force spokesperson, Mr. Frank Mba, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), said the legacy he would give to the slain personnel was to find their killers and bring them to book.
“The entire Nigeria Police is sad with the unprovoked killing of 12 policemen in Bayelsa State, while performing their legitimate duties. Their death is a sad reminder of constant dangers the police are facing daily in protecting the country, citizens and the commonwealth. The best post-humous honour to give to these heroes is to find their killers and bring them to book,” the police boss said.
Abubakar, who said the force would stop at nothing until the killers were found, ordered the police investigative team to ensure that the killers were arrested and punished within the shortest period of time.
Worried by the incessant killing of policemen and officers in the course of their duties, the IG said the force had devised a new standard aimed at reducing the fatality suffered by the police while on national assignment.
Although the police boss did not disclose the new standard, he insisted that very soon, the incessant killing of policemen on duty would be a thing of the pass.
“Nigeria is currently facing one of its most challenging moments. The time is short. The race against crime is tight and the challenges of crimes are enormous. But my message of hope to Nigerians is that with the co-operation of other security agents and kind-hearted Nigerians, the current crime waves will soon be fizzled out of the country,” he said.
Reacting to the question on the investigation so far into the death of the former Commissioner of Police, Kwara State, Asadu Chinwike, Abubakar said for the investigation not to be jeopardised, the police would not reveal how far they have gone in the case, but insisted that the force has made tremendous progress.
Following the inability of the police team deployed to recover the bodies of the 12 policemen, THISADY checks has revealed that the Force Headquarters has ordered the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Kingsley Omire, to report to Abuja.
There are indications that Omire, who is scheduled to retire next month may be asked to proceed on pre-retirement leave because of the failure of police under his command to recover the bodies over three days after the attack.
THISDAY investigation revealed that the deployment of the policemen to the burial of the mother of an ex-militant leader’s mother was illegal as they were travelling on a private boat chartered by the man instead of one of the many official gunboats owned by the command.
Last Friday night, 12 policemen were killed by gunmen who were later said to be members of MEND operating in the Niger Delta.
Confirming the killing, Omire said 12 policemen were missing following the attack even as he disclosed that he officially ordered the dispatched of 50 policemen to Azuzama community to provide security in a burial ceremony of the mother of Young Shall Grow mother.
Omire said, among the dead officers include, two inspectors, four unknown commission officers and six constables.
The police boss said: “We are hoping that if any of them is alive, we will rescue them and those that are dead will be recover by Sunday.”
“Divers are actively working tirelessly to rescue and recover the bodies of the policemen declared missing,” Omire said.
According to him: “We are confident that we would be able to unravel the identities of those involved, this particular case will not be isolated as all hands are on deck to apprehend the suspects.”
In a related development, Omire has dismissed the claim by MEND that its members carried out the attack, saying the group had no bearing in the killing of the 12 policemen, but insisted that they were killed by unknown gunmen when their speed boats develop an engine problem on the water.
As at the time of filing this report, it could not be officially confirmed if Omire had left for Abuja as calls to the lines and that of the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Alex Akhigbe, were not answered.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Amnesty Office has said the current security challenge occasioned by last weekend’s killing of 12 policemen in Bayelsa State was not a threat to the Amnesty Programme.
Speaking in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday, the Head of Communications, Presidential Amnesty Office and Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Dan Alabrah, said the killing or attack on the police personnel was purely a security matter.