Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd)
Too often, the question is cynically asked “who will die for Nigeria?” The question is frequently asked by public officers whose line of duty has some element of risk. The belief that those who suffer injuries or who die in the line of duty are often not recognised was dispelled Tuesday when Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), rewarded Jamiu Adekoya, an Inspector of Police, with N600,000 for his rare display of courage and dedication to duty.
Adekoya was said to have put his life on the line one night in Lagos, when the anti-robbery squad he was leading, fell under the heavy attack of a robbery gang.
A statement by the Assistant Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Mr. James Odaudu, said Adekoya was shot during a gun duel with the armed robbers in Lagos but defied his injury to fight back. Although two of Adekoya’s colleagues lost their lives in the attack, he managed to survive, after 16 bullets were extracted from his abdomen. Four more bullets are still lodged in some sensitive parts of his body. Surely, luck, more than skill, helped to make Adekoya survive the volley of hot lead pumped into his system by the armed robbers. The gesture of the minister will further reinforce his commitment to his duty.
But what may have thrilled Olubolade more is the fact that even when Adekoya had been struck down by the bullets of the robbers, he still had the strength and presence of mind to shoot the fleeing leader of the gang, killing him with the accuracy of a certified marksman.
While appreciating the gallantry of the officer, the minister said all the medical expenses for his treatment would be borne by the police authorities.
According to Olubolade, the monetary donation is meant to assist in his treatment and rehabilitation, and that it would also serve as a tonic for the officer and encourage him to do more in the service to his fatherland.
The monetary donation, according to Olubolade, is an initial reward, as Adekoya would be recommended for further and higher recognition in due course.
The minister said: "This reward would also encourage other officers to be more dedicated to their duties in the belief and conviction that the Federal Government would never abandon them in times of need."
The assurance from the minister is necessary, as too often even such a little gesture to encourage and comment gallantry are rare. This has often resulted in police officers and men treating with levity reports of robbery attacks, or taking the next escape route to avoid confronting the robbers. Others, out of frustration occasioned by what they called poor service conditions and non-appreciation of the roles of security agents in ensuring the safety of lives and property, connive with robbers.
Before the Police Affairs Ministry came with its reward, a national newspaper had celebrated the courage of Adekoya by conferring on him an award for his selfless commitment to heroic service.
Besides rewarding Adekoya, Olubolade may have used the gesture to trigger a wave of courage and selflessness in the police force, as the you-are-on-your-own belief in the service has been dispelled. However, it is noteworthy that Olubolade is a political appointee. Would this gesture continue if he is no longer in office? Does the NPF have a template of such reward to its rank and file? And pray, has the entitlement of those who lost their lives been paid or being processed? It is the attention to such victims that reinforce the confidence in a service.