Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has said the 36 Nigerians arrested for allegedly vandalising businesses belonging to South Africans in reaction to the xenophobic attacks will be prosecuted.
Adamu said Nigeria is a country governed by laws, describing those displaying such anti-xenophobic destruction as criminals and unpatriotic citizens.
He said the arrest was lawful and justifiable and was done to portray Nigerians as law abiding citizens before the global community.
The IG spoke in Ado Ekiti on Thursday during a security stakeholders’ meeting held in the capital city.
Defending the arrest, Adamu said: “The arrest showed that Nigeria is a country that has laws and it shows that we can never behave the way others behaved.
“No individual is allowed to take law into his hands. The federal government is dealing with the issue of killings and attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
“The fact that Nigerians are being attacked over there shouldn’t be a reason for anybody to attack the businesses of South African nationals.
“Those who did that are unpatriotic and they are criminals and that was why we arrested some of them and we will prosecute them,” he said.
Adamu added that the country’s policing system has been redesigned and rejigged to be community-based so that all Nigerians can see the issue of security as their responsibilities.
“Our strategy for policing has changed. The community is now working with us and we are going to ensure that all the communities are represented whether you are traditional rulers or you belong to any socio-cultural group.
“We are going to train people from each community who will have the power of the police and power to arrest. They will be deployed to help the police in fighting crimes. When it comes to recruitment, we will come to your communities,” he said.
On why the police decided to interact with the stakeholders, Adamu said: “There are isolated cases of robbery, kidnapping and cultism in the South-west of recent and we believe the traditional rulers and the state governors must show commitment and we are ready to do anything to mitigate the security problems.
“We believe that if we all work together by way of robbing minds and share ideas, our society will be free of crimes.”
The IG added that the government is seriously concerned about the welfare of the officers, saying: “We have bought patrol vehicles and with the state-of-the-art technology that can checkmate crimes.
“We believe no officer should die in the course of fighting crimes. To this end, body armour have been procured to protect us while confronting the evil doers. If you kill one police officer, the government has lost the money spent to train such man.”
The Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Asuquo Amba, said the police have been able to reduce crimes in Ekiti due to hard work displayed by his men.
He said his command has also maintained robust and smooth collaborations with other sister agencies to maintain security of lives and property.
The Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Rulers and the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, commended the IG and promised that the body will continually support the police to make Ekiti safe.
“It is herculean task that the constitution bestowed on the police. And the priority should be on the welfare of the police to be able to discharge their onerous responsibilities expected of them because a hungry man is an angry man,” he said.