No fewer than 43 security details attached to high-profile personalities in the country have been killed in the line of duty within 25 months, Daily Trust Saturday reports.
The development which claimed the lives of mostly policemen has been described as “unacceptable” by security experts considering how secure their principals with the bullet-proof vehicles are while the officers remain vulnerable to attacks in their not secured pick-up vans.
Checks in the reported cases by our correspondents show that the number of casualties recorded in 2021 is lesser than the ones recorded in 2022, with a fresh record in 2023.
The recent attack on a former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, on January 2, 2023, where at least four of his security details were killed, has raised concerns among Nigerians.
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Two personnel were earlier killed by suspected IPOB militants on December 9, while serving as security aides to two expatriates at a construction site at Umunachi in Imo State.
According to a tally compiled by Daily Trust Saturday, 12 and 27 personnel were killed in 2021 and 2022 respectively by kidnappers, gunmen, armed robbers, bandits, Boko Haram, IPOB militants, among other criminals, while four paid the supreme price in 2023.
The dangerous trend
On March 31, 2021, a police officer was killed by gunmen at ex-minister Damishi Sango’s residence in Danwal in Riyom LGA of Plateau State.
On May 5, 2021, another security personnel was killed by kidnappers at Ibara Orile in Ogun State while serving as a guard to some farmers.
Findings show that on May 21, 2021, armed robbers killed a policeman when they attacked a Chinese man who had withdrawn money from a bank in Abia State.
Also, gunmen killed an officer and abducted two Chinese men at a mining site in Arufu community in Taraba State on June 14, 2021.
Barely three days after the incident in Taraba, a police officer, Adewumi Abiola, was killed at Adeaga/Alaagba, a border community between Oyo and Ogun states when two Chinese were kidnapped.
On July 4, 2021, gunmen attacked Delta State APC Chairman, Chief Michael Johnny, on Warri-Effurun road where one of the police officers attached to him was killed.
In the same vein, a police orderly to Prof Samuel Ndubuisi of the Scientific Equipment Development Institute was killed on the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway three days after the Delta incident.
Also, a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Fatmann Dooiyor, was killed on July 26, 2021, when IPOB militants stormed the country home of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, in Omuma in Oru East LGA.
At least two police officers were killed in an accident on August 14, 2021, when they were escorting APC Youth Leader, Ogochukwu Elem, in Ebonyi State.
On August 12, 2021, a policeman attached to some oil workers in Assa community in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo State, was killed by gunmen, while a police escort was killed in Anambra State when gunmen attacked Dr Chike Akunyili, the husband of a former NAFDAC boss, late Prof Dora Akunyili, at Nkpor Junction.
Number of victims rose in 2022
In 2022, the number of fatalities rose as 30 victims were recorded. Two police orderlies, Insp David and Insp Solomon, attached to the Enugu State Commissioner for Lands, Chidi Aroh, were killed by gunmen on February 20.
The nation’s capital, Abuja, was not left out of the trend as it recorded the deaths of inspectors Ibrahim Abazi and Yakubu Toma, security aides to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
They were reported to have died in an accident within the vicinity of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on their way out on April 6, 2022.
Further checks show that on May 21, 2022, Sergeant Al-Hassan, orderly to the Chairman of Nasarawa LGA in Nasarawa State, was killed by kidnappers on their way to Lafia.
Similarly, no fewer than six mobile policemen lost their lives on June 20, 2022, to bandits in Sokoto State in an ambush while they were escorting intending pilgrims from Isa LGA.
On July 5, 2022, a policeman attached to the APC deputy governorship candidate in Rivers State was killed by gunmen, while Boko Haram terrorists also took the life of a police officer during an attack on the Chairman of Nganzai LGA of Borno State.
Between September and November, 2022, 15 security personnel lost their lives in the line of duty. The orderly of an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Audi Madaki, was one of the victims when bandits attacked their convoy.
Daily Trust Saturday recalls how two policemen in the convoy of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah were killed on September 11, 2022, when gunmen attacked them at Enugwu-Ukwu in Njikoka LGA while returning from his (Ubah’s) home town.
Also, a police orderly attached to Akwa-Ibom APC gubernatorial candidate was killed on their way from Imo State on October 8, while at least three policemen paid the supreme price during an attack on the convoy of Apostle Johnson Suleiman on October 21.
Kaduna and Rivers states recorded the deaths of five officers in November 2022. Aminu Mohammed was killed at Gonin Gora while serving as an escort to the Managing Director (MD) of the Railway Management Company Limited.
In Rivers, four policemen met their death while serving as escorts on the Rumuokoro Flyover.
Families yet to get compensation
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that aside from condolence letters majority of the slain officers’ families are yet to be compensated either by their principals or the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
A widow in Kaduna State, who gave her name as Zara’u, said she was yet to recover from the shock of missing her husband.
She said, “It is not just about compensation, but the vacuum created by his exit.”
A younger brother of one of the slain officers told our correspondent that, “Honestly, when our brother was killed during an attack while escorting his boss the whole family was left in disarray. For the past year, he departed this world his entitlements have remained hanging.”
When contacted via telephone, the spokesman of NPF, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, told Daily Trust Saturday, “Let me get to the office, settle down and check some files in order to respond accordingly. You know this is the issue of policing and we have guided rules.”
Review personnel’s deployment to VIPs, experts tell IGP
In interviews with Daily Trust Saturday, two security experts, Captain Umar Ali (Rtd) and Mr Senator Ireogbu, called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, to urgently review officers’ deployment to VIPs.
Captain Ali noted that it was only the immediate review that would help in the current quagmire the police found themselves in; where their personnel were being killed.
He said, “From a broader perspective, vis-a-vis fortunes and misfortunes of the police in Nigeria, you will begin to understand that these policemen would rather die protecting these men even when they are not properly provided for; neglecting the statutory duties they were employed for.
“How do you weigh the fact that Ohakim and Apostle Suleiman had their policemen virtually wasted because the policemen were not properly catered for? On the other hand, and quite ironically, these same policemen would rather descend on civilians, and even babies.
“Where do we even start to solve these problems? The policemen themselves, starting from the IG, don’t seem to have minimum requirements for equipping their men to hang around VIPs. For us, observers and practitioners, we find it difficult to make a case for a police force that has no pity for the citizens.
“It is foolhardy for you to protect the man who is actually more protected than you are. He’s in a bullet-proof jeep and you’re sitting in an obscure vehicle without even a ballistic vest. All you have is your shirt, trousers and an AK-47; that’s all. You walk head on into an ambush and you expect to have a chance; it doesn’t work that way.”
On his part, Iroegbu argued that, “For the police to be using bullet-proof vehicles during operations is not a standard practice anywhere in the world. The most important thing is the reduction of criminality. The lesser the crime in our society, the lesser the danger to the lives of our security agents.
“It is normal for the security agents to put their lives on the line whether in the developed countries or underdeveloped countries because that’s the job you signed for. It is actually that you’re signing a death certificate immediately when you enter the job.
“But the bottom line is, should the lives of our security agents be put on the line unnecessarily? Should the police be the ones protecting every VIP? Can’t there be private attachments? In an advanced country, not every VIP state funds should be deployed to. There are other crimes they should be deployed to fight.”
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