Abubakar ...challenged to make a difference
Despite limitations of the security agencies, the security situation appears to be improving across the country, writes Olawale Olaleye
If there is any indication that the Nigerian security situation is not completely hopeless as may have been the perception all along; some of the recent feats put up by the concerned agencies, notwithstanding their limitations, are a pointer in this direction. The nation’s security agencies, the police especially, have been the scapegoats of the society’s many woes even when their griming incapacitation can be explained away.
The security challenge of the 21 century Nigeria has become almost intractable, especially given the onslaught of terrorism, a crime hitherto alien to the nation’s security architecture. While the police and other security agencies were clearly not prepared to take on such strangling challenge, fears that the nation was headed in a destructive direction was pervasive without indications of an end to the daily growing mindlessness.
But the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Muhammed Dahiru Abubakar, upon his appointment a few months ago, raised the hope of Nigerians and allayed fears that the nightmare had come to stay. Unfortunately, his sermon of hope was received with mixed feeling especially that his coming on board was at first, a subject of debate in certain quarters. He was, however, not swayed by such pessimism.
Soon after his appointment, the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, also took steps further and replaced the National Security Adviser as part of moves to tightening up the security of the country. The appointment of Col. Sambo Dasuki, soon complimented efforts of Abubakar in collaboration with other agencies of government in the onerous task of wrestling the security menace to the ground. Although, it was initially difficult for many Nigerians to appreciate the combined efforts of the security agencies, their hard works now seem to be paying off.
About two Mondays ago, security agencies reportedly gunned down the spokesperson of the Jama’atu Ahlus Sunnati Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, Abu Qaqa and apprehended two of its top commanders in Kano after a gun duel. Spokesman for the Joint Task Force in Kano, Ikediche Iweha, said Abu Qaqa and his cohorts met their waterloo when they refused to stop for a search by officers of the Kano State JTF and they opened fire on the Volkswagon Golf car he was said to be travelling in. Iweha also confirmed that a lady was among those arrested.
In yet another feat, security agents on Monday this week, killed a suspected top member of Boko Haram and arrested 156 others in Mubi, Adamawa State. Mubi, which is about an hour drive from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and one-and-a-half hour drive from Damaturu in Yobe State, both focal points of Boko Haram activities, is said to be a major base of the sect in Adamawa State.
Operatives of the special security squad, “Operation Restore Sanity”, made the arrest during a raid on the insurgents’ hideout in Mubi which led to a gun battle with the terrorists in which one of their key commanders, believed to be Abubakar Yola, alias Abu Jihad was killed. Four of the 156 persons arrested are also believed to be top unit commanders of the sect involved in the recent bombings of telecommunications facilities in the North-east about three weeks ago.
The security operatives also rescued five women and six children from a house suspected to have been used by Boko Haram as its main ammunition dump. The Brigade Commander, 23rd Armoured Brigade, Brig.-Gen. John Nwoaga, accompanied by the state Police Commissioner, Mr. P. C. Okeke, and Director of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr. Olugbenga Jayeoba, who gave the details said the kingpin was shot by soldiers when he resisted arrest.
Also, in Lagos, the State Police Command recently paraded two suspects, Rasheed Suleiman and Kazeem Enifolabi, believed to be members of a robbery gang that carried out a bloody attack in the state about three Sundays ago, killing three policemen and four others. The suspects, who were paraded at the headquarters of the state police command in Ikeja, were said to have assisted the police by giving tips on how to arrest other members of the gang that carried out the attack on Sunday, September 9.
The attack carried out across some parts of the metropolis reportedly began around 10.45a.m when robbers riding in two SUVs seized currencies from money changers at Ifako-Gbagada. The SUVs allegedly driven by two women, according to witnesses, moved to Anthony, Oshodi, Agege, Surulere and Ikeja, with the robbers shooting sporadically at everything and anything on sight. The development was believed to have infuriated Abubakar, who upon hearing the news relocated to Lagos, a situation many believed had quickened the arrest of the culprits.
Besides, the arrest and subsequent arraignment by the same Lagos Police Command of four alleged killers of Cynthia Osokogu, the 24-year-old victim of a tragic social media transaction, before a Yaba Magistrate’s Court had also increased the rating of the security agencies in the country.
The suspects: Okwumo Echezona Nwabufor (33), Ezike Ilechukwu Olisaeloka( 23), Orji Osita (32), and Maduakor Chukwunonso (25), were arraigned on an eight-count charge of murder, armed robbery and administering the late Cynthia with obnoxious substance known as Rophyenol via Ribena fruit drink, among others. The charge also stated that the suspects also had unlawful sexual intercourse with the victim without her consent. The culprits had since been remanded in prison custody after declining to take their plea and their file duplicated for the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.
While a sequence of such feats is commendable given the operational limitations of the security agencies, it is however not yet uhuru for the police and their sister agencies. The journey is an endless one and it has just begun. Besides, the challenge usually thrown up at this time of each year would further put to test, the improvement in the operations of the Nigerian police and other security agencies in the policing of the nation.
And coming at a time the clamour for state police has continued to gain tremendous support from its proponents, it is left for the police to prove that with better funding and requisite training and equipment, they remain a quintessential key institution committed to the Nigerian project.