John Ameh, Adelani Adepegba, Leke Baiyewu and Ted Odogwu
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, is expected to appear before the Senate Committee on Police Affairs on Tuesday over the killing of seven policemen in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Monday night.
The police boss is also expected to shed light on the protest on Monday in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, by some policemen on anti-terrorism operations over non-payment of their allowances.
The invitation by the Senate to the IG was made known at the plenary on Thursday when the lawmakers debated the proliferation of roadblocks mounted by policemen and soldiers in the South-East; and the killings of policemen and a National Youth Service Corps member in Abuja during the week.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, had said, “While talking about that, I have received requests from our colleagues; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim. I observed that we have not taken this issue of the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) police officers that were killed on Monday at Galadimawa junction.
“As a National Assembly, as much as we pay attention to ordinary citizens that lose their lives either by an action or inaction of the police, we should also be seen to also be protecting and be there for those that protect our lives, and in the cause of their duty, they lose their lives. I will like us to please find out what happened as regards the seven police officers that were killed, the circumstances, and how we can all commiserate with the families, and whatever needs to be done so that all the officers can know that we do care and we appreciate what they are doing.”
Saraki urged Ibrahim to make a report on the issues available by next week for consideration by the Senate.
The Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, who represents the Federal Capital Territory, also told the Senate that two policemen were killed in the Abaji Area Council in Abuja.
Responding, Saraki asked Ibrahim to also engage the IG on the additional killings.
The seven policemen, who were shot dead on Monday night by unknown attackers at the Galadimawa Roundabout, were deployed in the FCT on special duty, it was learnt on Thursday.
The attackers, who were said to be in two vehicles reportedly went away with some AK 47 rifles belonging to the policemen, but detectives investigating the incident had recovered a pistol from one of the deceased officers.
Findings by one of our correspondents in Abuja revealed that the slain men were part of a riot police unit drawn from the Police Mobile unit 2, Lagos and Benin City.
Other unit members, it was gathered, are on special duty in Bwari, Bwari Area Council, Abuja.
It was learnt that the unit had just returned from a tour of duty in Borno State before they were dispatched to the FCT in December, 2017.
A police source explained that the men ought to have been sent back to their bases, but the police authorities failed to do so for reasons best known to them.
Our correspondent learnt that the deceased officers included two Inspectors, one of whom was promoted last November while in Borno State, four Sergeants and two Corporals.
It was gathered that a member of the police team escaped the attack because he was away on an errand when the gunmen struck.
A source who is familiar with the slain cops, said, “Sergeant Titus (one of the slain cops) was expecting his promotion before he was killed. Their injuries were grievous as the bullets tore their bodies into shreds.”
Another source gave the assurance that the attackers would soon be caught, noting that the police would deploy their intelligence to apprehend and bring the perpetrators to justice.
When asked if the slain cops were on special duty from outside Abuja, the FCT police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, simply said, “We are not talking about that now; we have commenced an investigation into the killings. That’s the only thing I can tell you.”
IG establishes investigation team
Meanwhile, the IG has set up a seven-man team of crack detectives, Scene of Crime Experts and Technical Intelligence Unit of the Force to investigate the killing of the seven policemen.
The force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said in a statement in Abuja on Thursday that the team, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, was headed by a seasoned investigator, Bala Ciroma, a Commissioner of Police.
The statement explained that the team had already commenced investigation which is expected to be concluded in 21 days.
It said, “The team is to unravel, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the killings and to detect the motives behind the ambush and killings.”
Moshood stated that the team would work with the FCT Police Commissioner and that they would take over the probe from the FCT Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department.
“The team is expected to proffer strategies and recommendations to forestall similar attack in the future,” the statement added.
Maiduguri police protest is sign that anarchy is near -Reps
In the House of Representatives, members warned on Thursday that security challenges in the country would continue to worsen, leading to anarchy if more protests by policemen occurred across the country.
The lawmakers also observed that revolt by security personnel suggested leadership problem, which President Muhammadu Buhari must not continue to ignore.
They spoke in Abuja as the House passed a resolution to investigate the circumstances, which led to Monday’s protests by riot policemen in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The policemen had gone on the rampage over alleged unpaid special duty allowances that had accumulated for six months.
A member from Rivers State, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, brought up a motion on Thursday, urging the House to intervene by probing the incident and offering urgent solutions.
He said, “No country plays with the welfare of its security personnel.
“The excuse of the police authorities blaming the protest on budget delay is a fallacy. The budget delay does not stop allowances and salaries from being paid.”
“There is a deeper problem that we don’t know; that is why this investigation will help the House in taking the appropriate decision.”
A member from Kano State, Mr. Aliyu Madaki, recalled how he heard the protesting policemen calling the IG “thief”, “thief!”
Madaki said, “I watched the clip of the protest and I was in shock. How will a policeman on special duty refuse taking a bribe when he is not given food and accommodation?
“The Nigeria Police, under the current IG, is incapable of protecting Nigerians. This IG should be removed, else the government will continue to fail in upholding Section 14 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
The House Minority Whip, Mr. Yakubu Barde, also told the House that the revolt meant that the policemen had lost confidence in their IG.
He said, “Recall that the National Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in this IG. He is still in the office. Now, it’s his own men that are also saying they no longer have confidence in him.”
“The implications are that there will soon be anarchy in this country if more personnel begin to protest and refuse to take orders from the IG.”
Another member from Abia State, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, told the House that what happened in Maiduguri was not only a show of shame but was also a dangerous indication that nowhere is safe in Nigeria.
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