Fighting Crime in Ebonyi

Benjamin Nworie writes that the outstanding disposition of the second female Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, Peace Ibekwe Abdallah, has contributed immensely to the relative peace witnessed in the state

A little peep into the history of Ebonyi State would showcase the vestiges of stigma etched on the psyche of the people plagued by age-long deprivation and marginalisation from the old East Central state. These undue hardship and abject poverty culminated to the aggressive history of Ebonyi man or woman. A state under self-imposed curfew. As early as 6pm, residents are already rushing home, after the day’s job.

Ebonyi, comprising 13 local government areas with about 260 communities has pockets of crises, majorly hinged on land and boundary disputes, kidnapping and cultism.

However, the contributions of the Ebonyi State Police Command in ensuring adequate security of lives and property cannot be over emphasised. With the appointment of Ibrahim Kpotum Idris, as the Acting Inspector-General, there’s high expectation that if his policy thrust is actualised, it would have addressed perennial issues and challenges in the state.

Yet, the strength of officers in the above cadres of rank is a serious constraint to the command with about 3, 815 police officers providing security for close to three million people.

Many commissioners of Police have taken the mantle of leadership in the command with their various impacts and legacies but the emergence of CP Peace Ibekwe Abdallah has raised more hopes and expectations in conformity with the dream of Ebonyi founding fathers.
Due to her outstanding disposition and hard work, the state governor, David Umahi extended his street lights project in and around the command, awarded the construction of internal roads in the command,

fencing of police divisions, and supply of water in the command.
Apart from her core security mandate, Abdallah has penchant for great things. On assumption, she quickly transformed the Police Officers’ Mess and made it so befitting for relaxation and refreshment.

As she heads to one year in office, observers contended that she came to Ebonyi, saw all these glaring challenges and was on the fast lane to conquer and the people are very happy to have her and appreciative of her giant strides at this time. First, she instilled discipline,integrity and dignity of officers in the command and restored confidence in the people.

She promised to uphold the IG’s policy thrust and ensure that his mission and vision in his new seat are actualised. She noted that the IG’s templates are issues of serious concerns to the Force that if actualised with team spirit, no doubt, would reposition the Nigeria Police Force.

“I assure you that we will follow the IG’s policy thrust and vision to fruition because it’s apt and cogent in the total restructuring and repositioning of the Nigeria Police Force. The IG has exhibited wisdom and preparedness to take the nation’s security apparatus so highly and I am confident that he will make Nigerians proud at this critical period in our nationhood.”

Since coming on board as the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi in September, 2015, the state has witnessed
uncommon peace and drastic reduction in the crime wave. This feat wouldn’t have been so if not for the new initiatives and crime control strategies deployed by the Police Commissioner to confront crimes and criminality in the state.

Her emergence has been quite revealing and moments to appraise the efficiency of the amazon in her security job. Not only that the Police has kept surveillance, it is the first time that residents have the latitude of confidence to freely move and stay late night without being victims of men of the underworld. Not only that crimes and
criminality have reduced, her social integration is marvelous and communities have imbued confidence in the police for robust partnership and community policing.

Few weeks after she assumed office, the CP embarked on tour of sister security agencies in the state to seek partnership and harmonious working relationship. These visits, observers noted must have curbed the incessant security clash in the state. After that, she visited all
the Police divisions, community leaders, women groups, organisations to ensure team spirit, as security job is a collective responsibility of everybody, not for an individual or group.

Abdallah also expressed confidence that stronger relationship established between the state Police Command and other security agencies as well as stakeholders has contributed immensely to success recorded in all frontiers of crime fighting. All residents can now sleep with their two eyes closed.
As a second female commissioner of the command, and may be the only female serving CP in the federation, Ibekwe Abdallah has imbued professionalism and paid strict adherence to rule of law and other guiding principles in the discharge of her official responsibilities.

On the saddle, she has conquered most of her policy thrust. Testimonies abound that Abdallah is the first of its kind in the history of the Ebonyi State Police Command. The state governor, Umahi described her as a special gift from God to Ebonyi people. While the Command’s spokesman, DSP George Okafor described her as a “woman of substance”. The Okada union described her as most-friendly CP, with a title “Nne Oma” (Good mother).

The Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Administration, ACP Adewale, said Abdallah has sowed a seed that would leave an imprint in the sands of time both in the security job and human relations in the state. These glowing encomiums indicate robust harmonious working relationship among the files and ranks in the command, especially the principal officers.

Interestingly the two initiatives- Show of Force and Walk Down Crime strategies adjudged to be the first of its kind since the history of the Ebonyi State Police Command were brains behind relative peace and near free-crime in the state. The routine patrol and surveillance in all the nooks and crannies of the state, especially the metropolis has also contributed to the low crime rate. This, she noted would be intensified to accommodate early morning to ensure round the clock surveillance and monitoring.

No doubt, the outcome of her lofty initiatives may have been responsible for the drop of crimes and criminality in the state, although she has consistently warned criminals to relocate from the state. The import of the Show of Force and Walk Down Crime was to
ensure that her men are strong, ready and prepared to combat crimes, which was also subject to be reviewed quarterly. “Even a dare-devil criminal will not stand during the Show of Force. We will intensify it to include early morning from 5:30 am to 7:30 am in case of any eventuality,” the CP said.

In this “mber months” and last quarter, she noted that the command would review the activities of the last quarters and appraise its performance and tinker the way forward. In the next quarter, some local governments have been identified as flash points. They include: Ezza North, Ezza south, Ohaukwu, Ishielu.

According to the CP, it would no longer be ceremonial like her initial tours, where community leaders
and groups were assembled in a “village square” for sensitisation and awareness campaigns. For the above identified council areas and some other communities where there are pockets of crimes and crises, it would be house-to-house approach, to talk to the people and those concerned, not all-comers affairs. The people will be free to air their views and
problems. The idea is to identify the victims and talk to them directly and reorient them on the need for peaceful coexistence and community policing.

Another source of worry and concern is the quarry. In Ebonyi, the only industry and lucrative business is the quarry industry. The use of explosives is a major threat, the CP has identified to deal with, at least to enforce strict adherence to the enabling laws on its usage.

The fear is eventual misuse of the explosives for other negative missions by further transforming it for other purpose at the influence of technological advancements.
She underscores the urgent need to poke nose into the operation of quarries in the state and ensure strict adherence to the law on storage and use of explosives. “We need to know how the explosives are stored and used.

Whether the enabling laws on the use of explosives
are complied with. It may not pose any problem today but with the security situation in the country, nothing will be treated with triviality. Of course, they have union. We will meet with them and ensure everything works in accordance with the law,” she stressed.

Abdallah noted that the downward trend incrime experienced in the state can be attributed to policing strategies employed by the command, which extended beyond traditional reactive models of responding to distress calls to intensive crime prevention activities.

She therefore solicited for the cooperation of all individuals in volunteering useful information that would help the command in crushing and flushing out undesirable elements in the society, as the identity of such person would be treated with utmost confidentiality.

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