Boko Haram: 167 Police Officers Abscond from Deployment

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  • It’s not true, police spokesman insists Denies alleged plot to arrest, kill Melaye

Alex Enumah in Abuja

A total of 167 policemen were said to have absconded from a counter insurgency training facility in Yobe State when they got wind of the plan by the police authorities to post them to areas under attack by Boko Haram insurgents.

However, the Force Headquarters has denied the report that 167 of its personnel have absconded from a training facility in the North-east.

This is coming as the police have also described as false an allegation that it was planning to arrest and inject to death the Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye.

Premium Times reported that the policemen who absconded from the Special Forces Training School, Burning Yadi, Yobe State, were drawn from Mobile Police formations in Keffi, Enugu, Benin; Jos, Calabar and Abeokuta.

Others are from MOPOLs 17 Akure; 18 Owerri; 19 Port Harcourt; 20/22 Ikeja; 23 Keffi.; 26 Uyo; 28 Umuahia; 30 Yenagoa; 31 Asaba; 32 Abakaliki; 35 Dutse; 39 Ogbomoso; 43 Lion Building; 50 Kubwa; 51 Oghara; 54 Onitsha and 56 Ogoni.

A police wireless message signed by the Commissioner of Police in charge of MOPOL, was said to have ordered the arrest of the operatives.

The policemen are from the rank of Sergeants, Inspectors and Corporals.

However, in a swift reaction, the police has denied the report claiming that 167 of its personnel have absconded from a training facility in the North-east following information that they would be deployed to battle against Boko Haram insurgents.

Police denial, which was contained in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jimoh Moshood, also described as fake, a list of the said absconded officers published by an online media outfit.

Moshood in the statement noted that the report was not only untrue but an attempt to cast aspersions on the efforts of the Force in the fight against insurgency in the North-east, adding that its personnel have no reason to abscond as they have been in the forefront in the battle against insurgents since inception.

“The insinuation in some quarters and as reported in the story that 167 out the 2,000 additional police officers recently deployed by the IG absconded is not correct and should be disregarded by members of the public. These 2,000 police personnel are to complement the efforts of the military to add new impetus to the fight against the decimated Boko Haram insurgency.

“This story was investigated and it was found out not to be correct, there is no reason whatsoever that Police personnel deployed for the operations in the North East would abscond. The Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel have been engaged actively in the front line along with the Military in the fight against Boko Haram terrorist group since the inception of the insurgency”, part of the statement read.

Despite the denial, the military last night confirmed that the fleeing policemen were tracked in Damaturu and returned to base.

The Cordinator, Nigerian Police Force for Operation Lafiya Dole, Brigadier-General A.S. Ishaq, said some of the “unruly” policemen wanted to travel for Christmas when training had not been concluded and were subsequently refused exit pass.

“The policemen didn’t abscond as alleged in media reports. What happened was that some of the Police officers insisted on going for the Christmas holiday. But in line with standard military operations, there was no way officers undergoing special training on a combat-operation, could leave their base when the training exercise has not rounded up.

“So, we refused to grant them permission. However, the unruly ones among them left our Special Forces School at Buni-Yadi, venue of the training. But thank God, the unruly personnel were tracked at Damaturu, the state’s capital.

“Right now, some of them have been brought back to the School,” he said. He said passing out parade for the trainees would take place Friday.

In another development, the police have also described as false an allegation that it was planning to arrest and inject to death the Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye.

Moshood described the claim by the Senator as mischievous, malicious and hateful, and advised Melaye to open up if he had committed any crime that would warrant the police to arrest him rather than “whipping up sentiments to distract the public”.

“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to a statement in some sections of the media credited to a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye, captioned “IG plans to arrest me, inject me to death”.

“The Force is categorically stating that the statement is mischievous, malicious, capable of misleading the public and laughable, there was no such order from the Inspector General of Police or any plan by the Force to arrest Senator Dino Melaye and inject him to death but if the Senator knows he had committed any crime or he is aware of his involvement in any crime, he should come out and confess and face the legal consequences instead of whipping up sentiments to distract the public”, Moshood said in a statement.

Moshood added that the Force sees such defamatory, mischievous, malicious and reckless statement by Senator Dino Melaye as untrue, ridiculous, mischievous and unfortunate.

He appealed to members of the public to disregard and discountenance Melaye’s statement in its entirety as untrue and mischievous.

According to the police spokesman, Melaye should know that his statement constitute a criminal defamatory offence, hate speech and hateful conduct.