The killing and subsequent beheading of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ahoada in Ahoada Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State, Mr Bako Amgbasim, by suspected members of the Icelanders cult group is most despicable and callous. No human being should suffer this gruesome fate and certainly not an officer who was saddled with the onerous task of working so that others could move about and engage in life-sustaining ventures.
According to news reports, the Icelanders group had been engaging rivals in cult clashes, worsening general insecurity in the area. This prompted the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Nwonyi Emeka, to redeploy the Divisional Police Officers in charge of Ahoada and Akinima, headquarters of Ahoada-East and Ahoada-West LGAs of the state respectively and replace them with the DPO in charge of Bori Division in Khana LGA, Bako Amgbasim, who had tamed the insecurity in his former division in Khana Local Government Area, and take charge of the two police divisions. This was just three months ago.
From news reports, while in Bori-Ogoni, DPO Amgbasim was well-loved and appreciated with the Forum of Ogoni Elders and Leaders of Thought deeming it fit to present him with an award for bravery. According to the forum’s chairman, Senator Bennett Birabi and Secretary, Dr. Desmond Nbete, “Since his assumption of office in the division, which coincided with a period of profound security challenges in the area, Mr. Amgbasim has carried out his duties with the utmost professionalism and uncommon bravery so much so that the mention of his name evokes considerable fear in the minds of criminal elements, not only in Khana, but the whole of Ogoni.’’
But the life of this exemplary officer was brutally terminated while on national duty. He was leading a security raid of criminal hideouts in Ahoada LGA when he was ambushed and killed on Friday, September 8, 2023.
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We mourn the death of this officer and commiserate with his family, praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
Mr Bako Amgbasim is among seven other DPOs across the country who were killed by criminals since 2021, according to data available to this newspaper. They include DPO of Nsukwa Police Divisional headquarters in Aniocha LGA, who was killed by gunmen on May 15, 2021; DPO Fatmann Dooiyor, who was killed at Omuma village of Oru East LGA of Imo State on June 26, 2021 by IPOB/ESN terrorists; DPO of Nasko Police Division of Niger State killed by bandits on March 15, 2022 and DPO Mansur Abubakar of Naka Division of Benue State who was killed by gunmen along Naka-Makurdi road on January 30, 2023.
Others are the DPO of Paiko in Niger State, Mukhtar Sabiu, who was killed by bandits at Kwakuti village along the Suleja-Minna road on February 12, 2023; also on February 19 this year, the DPO of Isiowulu Police station, Idemili North Local Government Area of Delta State, was killed when gunmen attacked the police station. And on the 5th of March, another DPO, Kazeem Raheem, was killed at Maru town by bandits in Zamfara State.
This figure in a space of two years is too high and something urgent must be done to address the situation. That criminals are bold enough to take on police officers and even kill them should worry the authorities and all security stakeholders. This should not be happening in a country that is battling security challenges on many fronts as it is capable of discouraging personnel on the field.
The report that suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of Amgbasim is good news, but the main culprits and leaders of the cult group blamed for the murder must also be fished out and prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the land. A proper investigation should also be carried out to unravel the circumstances that led to this heinous crime to forestall a recurrence. How this is handled is very important to stem these attacks and boost confidence in the security operatives as they go about their duties.
While lamenting the killings, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, assured that, “we have mobilized efforts to ensure the perpetrators of the mindless killing of SP Bako Angbashim are brought to swift justice, while we sound a note of serious warning to those who have penchant for killing our officers to desist.
“The slain officer was known for his courageous exploits against vicious criminal elements terrorizing the communities where he served. His gruesome murder and subsequent mutilation of his body is unacceptable to us.’’ The IGP should walk his talk and ensure that what he promised is achieved.
We commend the Rivers State government for placing a N100 million bounty on suspected killers of the DPO. It should also cooperate with the police authorities to ensure all the perpetrators are found. Going forward, for such special operation, a special joint task force should be put together to include the police, military and other relevant agencies.
We also call on the federal government and all those concerned to provide a special package for the families of those who died in line of duty to cover their education, health and other needs. And all benefits due to them should be paid without delay.