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In 2 months: IPOB, others fingered in killing 62 policemen in 15 states

No fewer than 62 personnel of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have been killed between January and February this year by criminal elements in 15…

No fewer than 62 personnel of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have been killed between January and February this year by criminal elements in 15 states.

Similar killings in some other states were largely unreported within the period.

Members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), bandits, kidnappers, Boko Haram terrorists, cultists and armed robbers are some of the criminals that perpetrated the act.

However, while some elders, especially in the South East, have blamed IPOB for the heinous act of killing police operatives, the media in most of the reported cases hid the identity of the proscribed group by describing the attackers as “unknown gunmen”.

Some serving police personnel interviewed said their morale was low and wondered why some people were against them despite the sacrifice they were making to keep society safe.

Some analysts have noted that the indiscriminate killing of security operatives would spell doom and therefore called on relevant authorities to tame the trend.

A tally from reported cases in the media showed that some officers were killed by their colleagues while on duty and some died in auto crashes. Findings also revealed that Delta State recorded the highest cases. It was observed that the brutal attack on police personnel heightened after last year’s #EndSARS protests which also led to the deaths of many operatives.

It’s tough working in Nigeria – Policemen

Some officers and men of the police said it was very difficult working in Nigeria.

A police sergeant said, “Since the #EndSARS protests, many Nigerians have developed cold feet for us, and honestly, I don’t know why.

“While we are always putting our best to keep Nigeria safe with little motivation, some criminals are killing us at will and nothing is happening to them. This is demoralising.”

Another officer, Corporal Sani, said he felt like removing the uniform completely for another venture.

He said, “I am tired of the job and I want to leave. In other climes, there is no way miscreants would kill police personnel and go away with it, but here, some people don’t even want to call them criminals; it is very sad, but the truth is that all of us would regret the day that we would not have the police on the streets.”

Speaking on the preponderance of attacks on police operatives, a senior officer who pleaded anonymity, said many personnel of the force had applied to be redeployed from the South East, South South and other violent-prone regions of the country.

He said many hoodlums attacking police and their formations had sophisticated weapons than the officers of the force; hence that it would be difficult to tame or reduce the growing violence in those regions.

He further said, “I can tell you that those who were redeployed from the South East and South South to the North after some police stations were burnt in Abia and Anambra states were very happy when they received their redeployment letters.

“Though not all those who applied would be redeployed, but a considerable number of them would be redeployed pending when lasting solutions would be found. I’m still wondering why police are the targets.”

Tackle IPOB decisively – S/East elders

Following renewed attacks on police formations and officers, some elders from the South East have urged relevant authorities to deal decisively with IPOB members.

The elders under the aegis of the Conference of Concerned Igbo Elders for Peace and National Unity (CIEPNU) said in a statement that the attacks on security operatives in some states in the region by IPOB members were unacceptable.

In the statement jointly signed by the President, Mazi Professor William Okocha, and Secretary, Barrister Irene Chizoba, CIEPNU condemned IPOB for carrying out Tuesday’s attack on Abayi police station in Aba in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State which resulted in the deaths of two police officers and burning of the station.

According to them, the current level of force being deployed may not be enough to curb their violent excesses in the region, warning that the proscribed group may likely carry out more daring attacks unless urgent action is taken to deter them.

They also urged Igbo sons and daughters at home and in the diaspora to dissociate themselves from the group to send a strong message across that IPOB did not represent the views of Ndigbo.

Some recent attacks on police operatives

On January 8, three policemen were gunned down at Onueke Police Station in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. On January 10, Inspector Muntari Lawal, Sgt Adamu Ibrahim and Simon Madaki were murdered at Wakyz Fast Food Joint, Ughelli, Delta State, by “yet-to-be-identified gunmen.”

In the same Delta on January 24, another police officer was killed by gunmen at Oton Area of Sapele.

Controversy also trailed the killing of a police officer identified as Rauf Fawale who was murdered by unknown men of the Department of State Service (DSS) in Osogbo, Osun State capital, on January 14.

In Kaduna, bandits launched an attack on police officers on Birnin-Gwari-Funtua road and killed four of them.

Also, one police inspector was killed by armed robbers at Boriki, Port Harcourt, in Rivers State on January 18.

Sgt John Auta was not lucky at his duty post in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, when he was killed by gunmen on January 23. In Yobe, Boko Haram terrorists lynched six police officers during an attack in Bursari Local Government Area on February 16.

Why attacks on police fester – Retired officers

Speaking with Daily Trust in a telephone interview, retired DIG Adedayo Adeoye decried that the attacks on police were growing in the South East and fingered IPOB militants.

He said the government should tackle them head-on and advised for more intelligence gathering and equipment for the police to be in a vantage position to repel any attack.

According to DIG Adeoye, IPOB members are attacking police to create anarchy and achieve their unpatriotic long-standing aim.

He said, “Since police stations are being burnt, it means there will be more criminals because the police will not be able to perform effectively again.

“Not only that, it would be telling on our economy because the money the government is supposed to use in developing other things would now be used in rebuilding the police stations.

“Look at those police stations that were burnt during #EndSARS, up till now, nothing has been done on them, and I know it is because of lack of finance to rebuild them yet.”

He further said, “What IPOB members are doing now is that they are setting the hand of the clock backwards. That is the way I see it, and it is not good for us as a nation. The police and the security agencies generally should buckle up.”

A retired AIG, Austin Iwar, attributed the latest attacks to growing insecurity across the country. AIG Iwar said the police being the most visible state structure were the first line of attack to weaken the security structure of the state and finally defeat it.

He said, “The implication of this is anarchy. They intend to create anarchy, to create a state of fear and violence in the minds of, not only the people, but in the state institutions.

“You know IPOB is an insurgency group and the government needs to do something about it before it snowballs into terrorism.”

Another retired AIG, Ali Amodu, said it would take more than a day before the problems of attacking police were solved, but asked the government to act fast.

Officials of the police force, however, said their men killed four attackers of their station in Abayi, Aba in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State.

The spokesperson of the force, Frank Mba, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the operatives also arrested eight persons and recovered arms and ammunition from the hoodlums who carried out the attack.

Founder of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, yesterday charged governors from the region to take over operations of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

He said, “I call on South East governors to take over the activities of ESN before they cause more harm to the region.

“South East must not be a theatre of war because of the activities of few individuals. We must recognise our leaders. We cannot allow anarchy to prevail.”

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