Kogi State Commissioner of Police and Chairman, Joint Security Consultative Council, Hakeem Busari, has disclosed that the police and other security agents in the state were on red alert for the governorship election slated to hold on November 16. He spoke to Ibrahim Oyewale on salient issues of security in the state. Excerpts:
The governorship election in Kogi State is due in a matter of weeks, what is the Command doing to ensure adequate security of lives and property before, during and after the election?
Thank you very much, the command and the sister security agencies are not leaving any stone unturned to ensure peaceful conduct of governorship election in Kogi State in November. Also, there is what we call Joint Security Consultative Council that comprises all security agencies in the state. They meet to discuss security issues and strategies for the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
As you are all aware that the governorship election will be held in Bayelsa and Kogi States respectively on 16th November, be that as it may, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adam will help build more security architecture by sending detachment of security personnel to ensure adequate security in the two states. As least, no fewer than 25,000 will be deploy to monitor election in Kogi State.
At every forum, we have been consistently warning the political actors to play the game by its rules. We have also warned that no thuggery, hooliganism or any violent act inimical to electoral processes. Youths have been urged too not to allow themselves to be used as thugs during the electioneering campaigns.
Parents have been told on several occasions to talk to their wards and must know the kind of friends they keep. Security is generally everybody’s business. The public must also help the police and all other security agencies to ensure that the November election is conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Anyone caught in the act will not be spared as such would be made to face full wrath of the law, no matter how highly placed in the society
What is the preparation like?
We are fully prepared. The Kogi State Command is ready, also the sister agencies are prepared for the eventualities before, during and after election in the state. Like I earlier pointed out, the joint Security Consultative Council put in place is not leaving any stone unturned. I want to assure the people of Kogi State that the security agents will ensure a level playing ground for all stakeholders in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi. We are on red alert. The security architecture put in place would be on top of security situation.
You said recently that there was an increase in crime rate across the country, people are already insinuating that the proliferation of arms and ammunitions by political gladiators during the just concluded general election may largely be responsible for the high rate of criminality being experienced in the country today. Is that correct?
The Political class should stop buying and distributing guns to the people especially, the youths because they want to win election at all cost. The irony of it all is that when these people cause problems anywhere, they would run to the Police to solve the crisis and whereas the police was not aware when they were collecting and distributing guns to the people.
In the first instance, why distribute guns, when we say election is not war? The politicians should stop buying and distributing guns to people. This will also curb rate of crimes in our communities. The most important thing is that the more we learn how to play the game according to the rules; it will be better for us. Therefore, those buying guns should stop giving out guns to the youths for elections.
In fact, those of you in media have a crucial role to play by continuing to write and educating them. They are advised to stop unnecessary proliferation of guns, because it will continue to bring bad side effects. For instance, they were friends, when they were buying and giving themselves guns. But after they had been used, they dump them and they become enemies.
They should rather create employment opportunities for the teeming youths in Nigeria and stop buying guns for them any longer. Those of you collecting guns from politicians should be wise enough. This is because if you not a policeman or member of any other security agencies, you do not have right to carry guns. If you carry gun without a licence, you become an armed robber.
So, how do you intend to make the state crime-free?
Generally, security is everybody’s business and not for police or security agencies alone. Therefore it has become imperative for everyone to collaborate with police and sister agencies in the state. Let the general public be adequately involved in curbing crimes in our communities. Let the public come out to give useful information about criminal activities in their area. The communities are expected to cooperate with police officers by identifying flashpoints in their areas and know the perpetrators of heinous crimes in their localities.
In fact, some communities are already forming vigilance group popularly known as (vigilante) to tackle crimes in conjunction with police authorities. Every member of the community must be very vigilant. People are advised to get the telephone numbers of their Divisional Police officers, Area Commanders and down to headquarters. Once there is anything, they can contact police authorities immediately.
As soon as police are informed, we are prompted into action. We have been responding to distress calls. We have given our numbers to the people in case there is crisis in any party of the state. Everyone must join hands with police now to ensure that our societies are free from crimes. The criminals are living within the same society. When we live in peace and harmony is making people to believe in absolute peace.
But in situation where we are not working in tandem with peace, there is problem here and there; crisis and crimes will set in. Once the people say that they no longer want all this bad things, such as armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping and etc. more so if you have information about them, let us know. By the time we separate shaff from wheat, the people and community will be better for it.
The level we are now, security is everyone’s job. If you go to your farm and see any strange things, let the police or security agencies know so that they can dismantle it. The Operation Puff Adder that the Inspector General of Police launched is to take the battle to the criminals’ dens, which we have been doing here and that is why we have relative peace we are enjoying in Kogi State now.
Have you any word for the criminal elements in the state?
The criminal elements in Kogi State are to leave now. My candid advice is that they should leave Kogi alone, because we are going to arrest them, smoke them out and make them face the full wrath of the law. The only advice is to leave, because Kogi is not their home. Tell them we are not playing. It is no longer business as usual. Once you are a criminal and got arrested, you will face full wrath of the law in Court. It is a very big warning.
Kidnapping has become a recurring decimal in Kogi State as it has taken the number one spot in this criminal venture. What is your Command doing about the ugly situation?
Your assumption may be very wrong anyway by saying Kogi State is in the number one spot. This is because we have worst scenarios than Kogi in other States. I do not know the yardstick or the statistics you have used to measure that Kogi is number one, as far as I am concerned, Kogi is not number one when compared to what is happening in other states. We have been able to bring the issue of Kidnapping in Kogi State to the minimum in the past one month. This is not only in Kogi but other parts of the country.
Recently, we have increased in the rate of crimes in which police were able to rise to the occasions. The Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed has launched “Operation Puff Adder” in the area, comprising Kogi, FCT, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara State. And we have been able to curb the spate of kidnappings in those places.
In Kogi now, we have been able to curb the spate of kidnappings. Koton Karfe is very peaceful now, because we rose to occasion. We have made a lot of arrest; we have made a lot of raids. We have always been on patrol on highways. If you go on highways now, you will see that our men are strategically positioned, so that the travellers will be able to travel without fears or molestations along the road and to ensure more security. Since the advent of “Operation Puff Adder”, kidnapping has gone down drastically in Kogi State.