POLICE STATE / STATE POLICE [AND THE STATE OF THE POLICE] - By Bashorun J.K. Randle - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Monday, 11 January 2021

POLICE STATE / STATE POLICE [AND THE STATE OF THE POLICE] - By Bashorun J.K. Randle


The United Nations has been overwhelmed with complaints that Nigeria is fast becoming a police state which is somehow incongruous with the self-evident and glaring insecurity all over our beloved nation.

The current Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres who is a seasoned politician (he was formerly the Prime Minister of Portugal) in addition to being a diplomat thought he had seen it all and heard it all, until he started delving into the complaints against Nigerian policemen.

Front page headline of “Daily Trust” newspaper of December 8, 2020: “COURT DISSOLVES MARRIAGE OVER WIFE’S PROMISCUITY: (I) “A 44-year-old man, Mr. Sheriff Ahmed, on Monday, in Lagos, secured a divorce from his wife who he accused of having an extra marital affair with a policeman. Mr. Sheriff had petitioned an Igando customary court, seeking dissolution of his marriage to Rashidat (33) over promiscuity. He earlier told the court that, “My wife is promiscuous; she is having affair with a POLICEMAN. I checked her phone and saw love chats and other immoral talks with the policeman on WhatsApp. We fought over it and I wanted to send her packing but due to intervention from friends and relatives, I forgave her.”

Responding, Rashidat consented to the dissolution of the marriage, telling the court that she was tired of battering by Sheriff. After listening to both parties, the judge dissolved the marriage.” (II) “MY HUSBAND (WHO IS A POLICEMAN !!) HIDES FOOD, DIVORCE-SEEKING WIFE TELLS COURT”

“A business woman, Mutiat Asimiyu, on Monday, told a customary court sitting in Mapo, Ibadan, that her husband, Ganiyu Asimiyu, (who is a policeman) keeps foodstuff on the rooftop of their house to starve her and their children. Mutiat, who spoke before Chief Ademola Odunade, the court’s president, said her husband did not have any trust in her despite her struggle to keep the family one.

The mother of two said her parents had on many occasions begged Ganiyu to complement her effort but that he usually behaved like a stranger to her. She said, “My lord, I wish to divorce him because my husband is troublesome. He used to climb the rooftop of our house to keep food there for us not to have access to it. We usually fight. He doesn’t trust me. He doesn’t take care of me and my children.”



The husband, Ganiyu, who consented to the divorce suit filed by Mutiat, said she was an ingrate. Ganiyu told the court that his father-in-law and mother in-law insult him all the time and that they instigated her to move her belongings out of his house. He further said his wife’s co-workers beat him to stupor the day he visited her place of work to appeal to her and that, “after beating me, they reported me at the Mapo Police Station.” Chief Odunade held that the union between Mutiat and Ganiyu had been irreparably dented and that dissolution was the only solution in order to avert anarchy. He, therefore, dissolved the union and awarded custody of their child to Mutiat and directed them to keep away from each other.”

However, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed who was formerly a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC); Chief of Staff to the former Senate President Bukola Saraki and is currently the Director of Publicity, Northern Elders Forum, intervened on the following day (December 9, 2020) with a repost which adorned the front page of “Vanguard” newspaper: “THE BEST WAY TO EAT AN ELEPHANT IN YOUR PATH IS TO CUT IT INTO SMALL PIECES” “The Nigerian state failed to develop institutions and values that will mitigate the type of circumstances which produced Biafra and the civil war. During its long tenures in power, the military fought against itself, and discouraged the emergence of a political system which could have mediated conflicts around power and resources by the elite. At every turn, the state was challenged by problems it created.

Between 1966 and 1999, the military was unable to stay outside power for longer than four years, a brief period which significantly highlighted the total re-integration of Igbo elite into the Nigerian political process. The military factor in Nigerian political history has been prominent and damaging, and hopefully, will come to an end with the expiration of President Buhari’s presidency.

Every major political development since January 1966 has had a major military (and police!!) imprint, and no leadership has emerged at the national and largely sub-national levels without the direct or discreet influence of military actors. This legacy has stunted the growth and development of democratic values and institutions, and has created multiple sources of grievances and conflicts that give the impression of Nigeria as a nation of multiple causes and few solutions.

The emergence of a political leadership without roots or linkages with a military tradition will signify a major reconciliation in the rupture which begun on January 15, 1966. The nation has survived many Biafras in the past, and it needs to come to terms with these challenges in their proper contexts. The resistance against the abortion of the elections that may have produced an Abiola presidency; the resistance of the communities in many parts of the South South against abuse and neglect; the resistance of many communities across the entire nation against neglect, attacks, abuse and marginalisation; the unacceptable levels of collapse of basic infrastructure in the East; the scandalous de-industrialisation and pauperisation of the entire north; the disaster arising from incompetence and official collusion in the growth and development of Boko Haram insurgency; the unfolding, global-scale humanitarian disaster in the North East are all Biafran causes.

In a real sense, every Nigerian is a Biafran.” On December 9, 2020, “The Nation” newspaper devoted its front-page editorial to extolling the superlative achievements of Sylvia Andrew who scored A1 in nine subjects. However, there was no mention of any prospects of a career in the police: The number one policeman/woman in Britain is Dame Cressida Dick who got her first degree from the University of Oxford and her Masters in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. She was appointed as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), London in 2017.

On December 17, 2020, “The Punch” newspaper devoted its front page to the police, with the bold headline: “POLICE TORTURED MY CO-DETAINEE TO DEATH, WITNESS TELLS PANEL” “A witness, Abbah Onoja, told the panel probing cases of police brutality in Abuja that a co-detainee, Obinna Jonah, was tortured to death in police custody in Abuja on January 28, 2020. Onoja was called to testify in the case of alleged extra-judicial killing which was lodged before the panel by the deceased person’s brother, Okechukwu Jonah. The witness recalled that he was arrested along with his friend, Chizoba Samuel, at Anguwar Shehu, Karimo, Abuja on January 27, 2020. He said the arrest took place at Samuel’s place, with the police accusing them of belonging to a cult called, Supreme Vikings Confraternity. He said Obinna was later arrested that same day, also on the allegation of being a cultist.

The witness noted that they were all detained at the police Anti-One Chance Unit in Jabi, Abuja. According to him, the unit, headed by DSP Jumbo Jumbo, later moved to Abattoir, a police facility being occupied by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other tactical police units. He said after being tortured by the police, Samuel confessed to belonging to the cult, and implicated the deceased, Obinna, to be a member. He said Obinna, who was later brought to join them, also admitted to being a member after he was tortured. Onoja added, “They asked for his firearms, but he denied having any. After much torture, it got to a point that he couldn’t talk anymore and started foaming in the mouth.”

He said a total of 14 of them arrested for allegedly being cultists, were later moved to the Abuja Police Command. He recalled that Obinna could not talk despite being hit repeatedly by an officer with a baton. The witness testified further that they were all moved from there to SARS detention centre at Abattoir for further investigation. He said, “When we got there, one Corporal Abubakar asked Jumbo Jumbo in pidgin English what should be done with Obinna. Jumbo told him that he (Obinna) should be dropped. “He was kept in a cell, but by the next morning, he was dead. The inmates were asked to bring his corpse out. That was on January 28, 2020.” The witness said that apart from Jumbo, others, including one Sergeant Gambo and one Sergeant Biggie, were involved in the case. The Justice Suleiman Galadima-led panel adjourned the matter till February 9, 2021 in order to enable the police defence team to cross-examine the petitioner and the two witnesses.”

On the following day (December 18, 2020), “The Guardian” newspaper’s front page report was another sad reminder of the problem with the police Headline: “BARBER SEEKS N5 MILION DAMAGES FOR DETENTION, TORTURE BY SARS” “Twenty-two-year-old Salmanu Umar, who appeared before the judicial panel of inquiry on police brutality sitting in Jalingo, Taraba State, yesterday, narrated how he was tortured in detention by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police.

As damages, he is demanding N5 million from the police authorities. Claiming that he was tortured and detained for 41 days at the SARS office in Jalingo over alleged indebtedness. He added that N140,000 was forcefully collected from him by one Inspector Solomon Ochoni before he was released on bail. More worrisome, according to him, was that his surety was also compelled to sign an undertaking to pay N700,000.

The police squad had reportedly threatened to charge him for armed robbery or kidnapping, if the N700,000 was not paid. Narrating how his hands and legs were tethered while he was in custody, without food and water, Umar, a barber in the state capital, urged the panel and SARS to refund the N140,000 allegedly collected from him as bail, since “bail is free.” The complainant’s father, Yakubu Umar, also told the panel that he (Yakubu) also went through a lot of stress using his meagre resources to treat his son for the injuries he sustained in SARS custody.

The complainant’s counsel, Adams Sanusi, urged the panel to award N5 million to his client as compensation for detention without trial. He also demanded the immediate refund of the N140,000 allegedly extorted from the petitioner. While admitting that the petitioner was actually detained for 41 days, the officer in charge of the disbanded SARS, Obomo Ubi, and Ochoni, whom The Guardian learnt was the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), denied that the petitioner was tortured. Ubi also said the inability of the police to arraign the petitioner was due to the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

After listening to the presentations of counsel to both the petitioner and the respondent, the Christopher Awubra-led panel adjourned the case for consideration.” On December 19, 2020, it was the front page report of “The Punch” newspaper that sent off shock waves which have gone viral. Headline: “POLICE COLLEGE: 24 PEOPLE IN COURT FOR ALLEGED FORGERY, IMPERSONATION” “The Nigerian police on Friday arraigned 24 people before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for allegedly forging their certificates while seeking employment into the Police College. While the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, is the complainant, S. Jonathan and 23 others are 1st to 24 defendants respectively.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, they pleaded not guilty to the 106 counts bordering on forgery and impersonation. Some of the charges filed by the prosecution counsel, Mathew Omosu, read in part, “You… sometimes between 2018 to 2020 at the Nigeria Police College Borno, being bound by law to state the truth, did swear on oath, and gave an information that is false and as such committed an offense punishable by law.

“That you…on the same date and place, did assume the name, designation of police officers, and thereby committed an offence punishable by Section 42 of the Police Act…” After taking their plea, Omosu prayed the court remanded the defendants in a correctional centre pending the determination of the matter. However, Justice Ekwo asked the prosecution how long the defendants had been in custody. The prosecution responded that they had been in detention since July. Counsel to 1st to 8th defendants, Shittu Dan-Shita, made an oral application for their bail. “in the interim, we have an application for the bail of 1st to 8th defendants,” he said. The judge, who noted that the court would commence its vacation on December 22, asked the lawyer to file a formal application, assuring that he could hear the motion even if the court began its vacation.

Ekwo adjourned the trial until January 25, January 26 and January 27 next year for trial continuation and ordered that the defendants be remanded, pending the next hearing. “They will be remanded but on the condition that they be given medical attention,” he said. Speaking with journalists shortly after the proceeding, Dan-Shita said he would file the bail application on time in a bid to get the defendants released. “My Lord is disposed to come out of his vacation to even hear the application for bail.

The prosecution filed 106 count charges against 24 defendants and as you can see, all of them pleaded not guilty,” he said. The NAN noted that while Saidu Jubril represented 9th to 16th defendants, Adam Ugwanyi was the counsel to 17th to 24th defendants and the National Human Rights Commission was represented by Mariam Kadril.” On its front page, the preview of the December 2020 edition of “The Will” newspaper which is yet to hit the newsstands carried in big bold headlines:

“NORTH AND THE POLITICS OF INSECURITY” “The North, comprising four of the six-geopolitical zones of the Nigeria’s political structure with a sizeable number of 19 states, appears to have woken up to the dire insecurity in the region with the warning by the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, that things have gone out of control. Speaking at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council on Thursday, November 26 in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, Sultan Abubakar III, said that the security system in the region has completely collapsed and lamented the high rate of insecurity, which has made the North the ‘worst place’ in the country to live in. According to the Sultan, who is the spiritual head of millions of Nigeria’s Muslims; “The security situation in Northern Nigeria has assumed a worrisome situation.

A few weeks ago, over 76 persons were killed in a community in Sokoto in a day. I was there with the governor to commiserate with the affected community. Unfortunately, you don’t hear these stories in the media because it’s in the North. We have accepted the fact that the North does not have strong media to report the atrocities of these bandits. People think the North is safe but that assumption is not true. In fact, it’s the worst place to be in this country because bandits go around in the villages, households, and markets with their AK 47 and nobody is challenging them.

They stop at the market, buy things, pay and collect change, with their weapons openly displayed. These are facts, I know because I am at the centre of it. I am not only a traditional ruler, I am also a religious leader. So, I am in a better place to tell the story. I can speak for the North in this regard because I am fully aware of the security challenges there.” On the Zabarmari incident, the Sultan- led JNI on Wednesday, Dec 2, reportedly called “on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibility and do well beyond the traditional condemnation, as lip service on security matter should stop…”

The Sultan had been railing against the state of insecurity in the north, except that his recent statement gained much traction by the Saturday, November 28 murder of 67 farmers, according to a Senate independent investigation, at Zabarmari village in Jere Local Government of Borno State. By July 2020, the Jama’ atu Nasril Islam, led by Sultan Abubakar, had credited the destructive violence and insecurity ravaging the country, especially the north, to the inefficiency of the country’s security architecture. This was followed by the Arewa Consultative Forum’s condemnation of the arrest of some youths of Arewa Youths Organisation, for protesting against the spate of killings in the north with a call on President Buhari to sack the service chiefs. But the recent statement by the Sultan has really triggered a wave of support and critical comments from groups in the region. The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, CONEPD, applauded the Sultan for his courage to speak up on the worsening security situation in the northern part of the country.

In a statement, the group’s National Coordinator, Zana Goni and National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi, urged President Buhari to heed the clamour for a reorganisation of the security architecture and appointment of younger officers with new set of ideas to change the situation. Besides commending the Sultan, the Northern Elders Forum led by Professor Ango Abdullahi, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, because, according to them, “he has failed in carrying out the chief function of a central government, which is to secure and protect the territorial integrity, lives and property of the citizenry of Nigerians.” It is not true that the North is totally free of these SARS excesses. I (A. Esele) was personally involved in the case of a young man called Gaddafi who was shot and killed in Kano in front of his family home by SARS operatives. He was not armed and he did not commit any crime.” “The Will was not done yet. It devoted its middle page to the headline: “#EndSARS: UNSTOPPABLE OC AKWUZU” “There are good and bad cops. Some good ones become bad in the line of duty and are, sometimes, consumed in their badness. DSP George Iyamu is one infamous example of a good police officer-turned-bad that a certain generation of Nigerians now only dimly remember. He, it was, who connived with the still infamous Lawrence Anini robbery gang in the mid-nineteen eighties such that their reign of terror topped the agenda during two or so meetings of the Armed Forces Ruling Council headed by military president Ibrahim Babangida. In one such cabinet meeting at State House Dodan Barracks, Obalende in Lagos, IBB was said to have turned to Inspector General of Police, Etim Inyang, and famously asked him: “My friend, where is Lawrence Anini?” Unmasked eventually, convicted and condemned to death as an officer on the take from robbers he sold guns for operations and tipped off criminals before police raids.

Iyamu went to the stakes and was shot along with more than a dozen members of Anini’s gang by firing squad on Valentine’s Day in 1987. Today in Nigeria, as a result of the ENDSARS youth uprising from early to midOctober, the picture of formerly good cop-turned-bad is gradually emerging. And that portrait is of none other than CSP James Nwafor, former OC Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS) Akwuzu in Anambra state. It is a damning portrait. More than a dozen families of victims of police brutality have stepped forward before the Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Extra-Judicial Killings and Other Related Matters presided over by Hon. Justice Veronica Umeh to back up their petitions with testimonies. According to Comrade Abdul Mahmud, human rights campaigner and lawyer present at the sitting, more than ninety percent of the 18 petitions so far are about the former police officer whose whereabouts is unknown. Let’s consider some of them. Chijioke Iloanya was home in Ajali community in Anambra state when he told his mother he was going to a friend’s child dedication sometime in November 2012. She implored her son not to. He wouldn’t listen and so proceeded to the venue of the child dedication. They were still there when some officers from Ajali Police Station stormed and arrested everyone present including Chijioke and transferred them to SARS Akwuzu. Testifying to the panel, Chijioke’s sister, Ms. Iloanya said inter alia: “the last time any member of the family saw Chijioke was the day my parents went to SARS office in Awkuzu. Our mum saw her son in their premises, (but) the officer in charge, James Nwafor, denied he was there. Some officers said he was bluffing and told my parents he wanted them to bring money.” Of course, the Iloanyas could not afford the money requested by Nwafor. On the next visit, according to Chijioke’s sister, “Mr. Nwafor told my parents that he had killed my brother; he looked my father in the face and told my dad he could do nothing.” Ms. Iloanya had just turned 17.

Okwuchukwu Onyemele was a graduate of Architecture when his path crossed with Nwafor’s not in any criminal hideout but right in front of his father’s house. The architect was with his sister when Nwafor along with other SARS operatives stormed their father’s residence in Ontisha and arrested him in June 2014. Okwuchukwu was beaten and detained without access to his family or lawyer. “While Okwuchukwu was in detention,” the petitioner said, “members of his family kept visiting SARS Awkuzu with the hope of seeing him. They were prevented by CSP James Nwafor from seeing him.” It was after several visits spanning years that “Mr Nwafor told Mr Onyemulue’s father that he killed his son.” Another petitioner, a school proprietor, Emma Adimachukwu, told the hearing how Nwafor as Commander of SARS Akwuzu demanded for N400, 000 to feed his son, Obinna, a businessman, in their custody in 2014. After graduating from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka where Obinna read Business Admin, his father (the petitioner) opened a shop for him at Mount Olive Plaza in Onitsha. In Adimachukwu’s words, Obinna “travelled to India to buy clothes. On March 14, 2014, he went to Nnewi and collected $10,000 owed him by a friend and proceeded to Onitsha to take delivery of his goods that just arrived.” Postscript: “Sobbing Father” “My son refused to let them (the police) take the money. He fought them. So when they got to Akwuzu SARS, they killed him. When I went to see him after his friend who was smuggled out told me about it, James Nwafor (SARS boss) told his men to lock me up that I was a father to an armed robber.”

On December 20, 2020, “The Sunday Sun” newspaper adorned its front page with the chilling headline: “INSIDE STORY OF POLICE MASSACRE OF SIX IN PORT HARCOURT” • Victims’ relations demand justice. “Daredevil trigger-happy officers of the Nigeria police on December 10, 2020 caused havoc in Port Harcourt, Rivers State as they shot dead six young men and left many others with bullet wounds. The police in a statement shortly after the gruesome massacre claimed that only one person was killed, but after the dust raised as a result of the shooting settled, five persons were confirmed dead. Trouble started when a team of policemen with a hilux van stopped a tricycle (Keke Napep) operator whose name was given as Chukwuma Nnolim, a native of Imo State, popularly called Schoolboy and demanded for N100 at Elikpokwu Odu road, Rukpokwu in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of Rivers State.

An eye-witness who does not want to be named said that the policemen stopped Schoolboy and demanded for N100 tip (Roger), but Schoolboy was said to have pleaded with them to exercise patience as he had just resumed work, but the men were said to be in no mode to listen to pleas or reason with him and insisted that he must pay, but Schoolboy was said to have maintained his grounds. According to the eye-witness, one of the policemen at this point lost his cool and became highly infuriated. He was said to have pulled out his gun, pointed it at Schoolboy on the throat and shot him at close range Schoolboy died on the spot. Findings showed that the senseless killing triggered a protest as other Keke operators who saw what happened carried the dead body of Schoolboy to Rumuokoro police station where the assailant came from. At Rumuokoro police station, a rowdy confrontation ensued as the angry Keke operators were said to have smashed the windscreens of some cars parked at the station, and the Rumuokoro police were said to have successfully dispersed the angry protesters without casualties. But other eye-witnesses said that when the protesters left the police station, some other trigger-happy policemen went on rampage and began to spray live bullets on innocent traders at Omachi junction, a make-shift market arranged by traders after the Rumuokoro market shutdown.”

As confirmation that the troubles of the police are not limited to Nigeria, “Daily Trust” newspaper of December 17, 2020 devoted the bottom half of its front page to the report with the headline: “SOMALIA’S OPPOSITION URGES TURKEY NOT TO SEND ARMS TO POLICE.” “Somalia's opposition says it has written to Turkey urging it not to send a planned shipment of weapons to a special police unit that they fear incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed could use to "hijack" forthcoming elections. Political tensions have been high in the Horn of Africa country, stoked by opposition anger over a delay in holding the elections for both chambers of parliament. The polls were initially planned for this month but that plan was scrapped following disagreements over the composition of the electoral board. On Tuesday, opposition supporters marched in the capital Mogadishu denouncing the president for the delay. In the letter addressed to Turkey's ambassador in Somalia and seen by Reuters, opposition candidates said they had learned Turkey was planning to deliver 1,000 G3 assault rifles and 150,000 bullets to Harma'ad, a special unit in Somalia's police, between Dec. 16 and Dec. 18. Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, chairman of the Wadajir (unity) party and one of the candidates who jointly wrote the letter, confirmed its authenticity to Reuters. The candidates, the letter said, are "worried about this amount of weapons and ammunition flooding the country at this sensitive election time. The president has already used the Harma'ad forces for coercion and rigging of regional elections, and so there is no doubt the same Harma'ad forces and the weapons from Turkey will be used to hijack the upcoming elections," it said. As demonstration / illustration of the “Vote of No Confidence” in the police, “Daily Trust” newspaper of December 17, 2020 carried on the top half of its front page the following headline: “2 ROBBERY SUSPECTS SET ABLAZE IN IBADAN.” “Irate youths in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday set ablaze two suspected robbers at the State Government Secretariat. An eyewitness told Daily Trust that while one was burnt alive, the other was knocked down by a moving vehicle. Our correspondent gathered that one of the two suspects, having failed in their mission to snatch a car, attempted to run away. But he was hit by another car on motion and reportedly died on the spot. The second suspect, it was learnt, was nabbed alive before the duo was set ablaze. The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Olugbenga Fadeyi, confirmed the incident. He said one Adebayo Tobi, a 27-year-old man of Plot 4, Owode Apata, Ibadan was robbed at Favours Area, Awolowo, Bodija, of his Vivo 400 Android phone and a bag containing some papers by two Okada robbers. “Sequel to this, he immediately pursued them with his Toyota Corolla car with Registration Number (Lagos) KRD 573 CH, along Dandaru Road (Parliament Road). But the hoodlums suddenly entered into a pothole opposite INEC office and lost control of the bike. They fell off. One of them died instantly, while the other sustained varying degrees of injury. “On the receipt of the information, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Agodi moved swiftly to the scene. But before his arrival, the injured robber had been set ablaze by the angry mob, numbering up to over 200”. He said investigation into the incident has commenced.” It was left to “The Guardian” newspaper of December 16, 2020 to devote its front page to fatigue (and the police connection): Headline: “WE’RE TIRED OF ADVISING BUHARI ON SECURITY (AND POLICE), SAYS AREWA CONSULTATIVE FORUM.” “Rising from its Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting yesterday, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said it is tired of advising President Muhammadu Buhari on security matters because the government appears not to be serious in taking proactive measures to end the ugly situation. Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, lamented that the Federal Government had failed to heed its advice on how to tackle insecurity in the country, thereby leaving citizens at the mercy of bandits. Yawe charged the nation’s leaders to tell Nigerians what would happen if their own children were kidnapped too.

He, however, added that massive employment of youths by governments at all levels would reduce the crime rate and check the rising insecurity across the country. “Today’s (Tuesday) meeting is very crucial to the operations of ACF because it is the first meeting of the newly-constituted Board of Trustees. We discussed security, and we are worried because Nigerians are not secure. We are not happy about insecurity in the country. We are looking at the immediate and long term ways of improving security. It has been in the news that over 300 students were kidnapped and taken away in Katsina, and the government is saying they are negotiating with the kidnappers to free the students. These are some of the things that are very distressful and disturbing to all members of ACF,” he said. The ACF spokesperson disclosed that the forum had called on government severally and kept on saying that they were not going to allow banditry to take over the country. “Bandits went to the school, packed students on bikes and took them to the forest. Whatever is happening to them in the forest, nobody knows. The situation is very distressful. Our leaders should tell us what would happen if their children were among those kidnapped. ACF complained about this insecurity in its October meeting, and nothing was done. We are in December with the same complaint, and nothing is being done.” Somehow, “Daily Trust” newspaper of December 17, 2020 squeezed out space to accommodate the front page headline on the police: “SULTAN SA’AD’s VISIT TO BORNO” “Thank God Almighty who made it possible for the Sultan of Sokoto to visit Borno State for the first time since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency to condole with the Governor and the Shehu of Borno. The Sultan’s visit indicated that maybe the northern traditional leaders are waking up from the long slumbers they have been in.

Since the beginning of the insurgency, one would have expected all stakeholders in the north in particular and Nigeria in general to have brainstormed many times to find a lasting solution to the insecurity bedeviling the region. I thought those who are in high places whose children are schooling abroad really paid little or no attention to the problems they thought is affecting only the old Borno. I was proved wrong as they are not also worried about the ongoing insecurity in the North West, the seat of the Caliphate. Anybody who thinks seriously about the insecurity bedeviling the north ought to know that the Nigerian security agencies don’t have enough equipment and men to occupy the entire areas where the terrorists are operating. The job of the military is to retake the land occupied by the terrorists, which they did perfectly, but then to whom should they handover? The Nigerian Police Force is undermanned, under-equipped, undertrained. Given our size and population, we ought to have more than a million uniformed policemen and about half a million informants. Security cannot be the way our country is being run. “- Dr. Saidu Samaila Msheliza. According to the front page of “The Punch” newspaper of December 16, 2020, the police decided to pull the revenge trigger. Headline: “POLICE ARREST DELTA MAN WHOSE VIDEO LED TO #EndSARS” “The Delta State Police command has re-arrested Nicholas Makolomi, who allegedly made video of SARS shooting a boy in Ugheli, Delta State, which led to the #EndSARS protests across the country. Makolomi’s counsel, Ekenemolise Osifo, raised the alarm on Tuesday in Asaba, noting that Federal High Court had ruled against Makolomi’s initial arrest and detention. Osifo described his re-arrest as a gross violation of the rule of law. He said, “Prince Nicholas Makolomi actually recorded an injustice being perpetuated and like what every right thinking Nigerian citizen would do, uploaded it to bring police brutality to the attention of the public.

Considering the present insecurities and lawlessness in the country, the baseless and unjustified act by the police to cover their inefficiency is an unnecessary distraction and mediocre (vindictiveness) instead of facing the actual issue and truth. It is totally disgraceful and unwarranted. “What aggravated the police to the re-arrest him was the fact that Makolomi brought the attention of the police to another act of unlawful extortion conducted by one SP Sunday Nwaja who requested for N500,000 to grant him soft landing. “To cover up for their lack of discipline to investigate the extortion issue, the police cunningly withdrew the pending matter from the court and re-arrested him. We want his unconditional release and the stoppage of further harassment of Prince Nicholas Makolomi . The police should respect the decision of the Federal High Court ruling in Asaba on November 24, 2020, which declared his earlier arrest and detention illegal.” Osifo said the victim had been taken to an undisclosed location and not allowed access to his medication being a chronic ulcer and asthmatic patient. Efforts made by our correspondent to reach the Commissioner of Police in the state, Hafiz Inuwa failed as calls put across to his cell phone were not picked. But the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said, “That’s what I heard, but I’m not aware. As I speak to you now, I’m in Enugu for PPRO (Police Public Relations Officers) workshop.” However, the last word belongs to the headline: “ENUGU Ex-FINANCE COMMISSIONER BROUGHT SARS WHO SHOT MY SON.” “A woman, Mrs Angela Ozioko, on Tuesday told the Enugu State Police Brutality and Extra-judicial Killings Panel how ex-state Commissioner of Finance, Goddy Nnadi, brought men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and shot her son, Emeka Ozioko, during a church ceremony and took away his body since December 4, 2011. Ozioko told the panel that she had been crying for the past nine years over the disappearance of her son. She said she visited many police stations and SARS offices to look for her son, adding that none of the police formations had any record of her son’s arrest. She urged the panel to unravel the mystery behind Emeka’s disappearance, adding that if he has been killed, those involved should be held to account. She said “ Emeka Ozioko was shot on December 4, 2011, around 3:30pm at Ohum Orba in the Udenu Local Government by operatives of the disbanded SARS, who took him away. Since then I have not seen him and none of police formation accepted that they know anything about his case. We went to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Enugu; we went to the office of the disbanded SARS; we went to Udenu Police Division and all of them preventeded us from entering their premises. They said they did not have any case like that in their stations. The day my son was shot was a big day in Ohum Orba because the indigenes of Orba who were appointed to different positions in the state by the then governor were celebrated. Only one Mass was celebrated at Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ohum Orba.” She said although she was not at the church service, her son and her husband were at the mass, before Emeka was called out on the telephone, shot and taken away by SARS men brought by Nnadi, who was among those being recognised. “Around 7pm, my elder son called from where he was staying and told me that Emeka’s mobile phone was switched off. He told me to make enquires because people  called him that the SARS men shot Emeka. We made enquiries and one man told my husband that my son was shot. Three days later, they brought youths that were also arrested to court. They called their names but my son’s name wasn’t in the charge sheet and his name was not mentioned among those that were at large. I want to know whether my son who was shot in the presence of many people and taken away for nine years committed any offence by coming to the celebration his community organised for its sons. In 2017, after those that were arrested at that ceremony were released by the state government, we petitioned the Inspector-General of Police. Some policemen came from Abuja, took our statement and went back to Abuja. They invited him (Nnadi) to Abuja and afterwards our lawyer stopped answering our calls.” Similarly, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Edo State, Dr Johnson Erimafa, asked the Edo panel to compel the police to pay him N1bn for the killing of his son a by a cop in 2003. Erimafa, a retired Mathematics lecturer at the Ambrose Alli University, told the panel that his son, Paul Erimafa,18, was murdered by a trigger-happy police sergeant, Kalijaye, when he was on his way to watch the Big Brother Africa in a cyber cafe close to his house. “The police abducted him at 8.30pm until 3am when they shot him dead in the front of the house of the then Justice Constance Momoh. They said he was a suspect. He was alone, he had no knife or gun but they killed him in the presence of the security details of the then Chief Justice I learnt that the boy struggled with him and raised the alarm which drew the attention of the security details that were at the CJ’s house. As my son started talking to the security details, Kalijaye, shot his legs.

The policeman went to invite other members of his patrol team. He killed him when he came back with his team and found out that he was still alive.” He said though no amount of money could compensate for the loss of his son, which eventually led to his wife divorcing him, the panel should order the government to pay him N1bn.”

 

-      Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former President of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, J.K. Randle Professional Services



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