60 Policemen Killed, 8 Injured In 5 Months
No fewer than 60 policemen were reportedly killed while eight others sustained injuries in 18 states of the country between January and May this year. Investigation by shows that the victims, who include officers and men, were killed as a result of attac
Daily Trust on Sunday
On April 12, this year, soldiers and policemen fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in Yobe State, reportedly turned their guns against one another in Damaturu, the state capital. The action resulted in the death of three policemen and one soldier.
Trouble started when a man was manhandled for allegedly interfering with the convoy of a police mobile squadron. The person turned out to be an army officer. The soldiers, in a bid to take revenge, reportedly took away the mobile police commandant and detained him.
The following day, policemen were said to have gone to a military formation at the Presidential Lodge in the state to free their commandant, an action that led to a fracas between the two law enforcement agencies. Three policemen and a soldier were said to have been killed in the shooting that ensued, while several others were wounded and taken to hospital.
Similarly, the Enugu State Government House was thrown into a state of mourning recently following the death of Sergeant Helen Sunday, the orderly attached to the Enugu State Deputy Governor Cecelia Ezeillo. She was shot dead on May 5. Her killers reportedly took away her phones and handbag before shooting her, a source had said.
“She had gone home after the day’s job at the Government House before her attackers struck,” the source said, adding that before she was attacked, she had called her fiancée, who allegedly told her he was on his way to her house.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State command, Ebere Amarizu, had confirmed the incident, describing it as “painful news.”
Earlier in January, herdsmen reportedly attacked Kwahine, Gidan-Dadi and Karalahi villages in the Demsa Local Government Area of Adamawa State, killing four policemen and three villagers.
Although a member representing Demsa in the state Assembly said he was reliably informed by his constituents that three villagers and four policemen died in the attacks, the Adamawa State Police command claimed that only three riot policemen were killed while two were missing. The policemen were said to be among those drafted to secure Kwayine, Gidan-Dadi and Karlahi communities following the clashes that erupted as a result of the killing of 47 cattle in the area.
The Adamawa State Governor Muhammad Bindow had condemned the attack, describing it as unfortunate and sad, especially as it came after peace and confidence building efforts.
In Rivers State, a mobile policeman was said to have lost his life on January 30 when robbers allegedly stormed a new generation bank around Rumubekwe/Shell junction of Port Harcourt, carting away about N30 million from a customer.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen, numbering about four, had stormed the bank in a
Toyota Corolla car, shooting sporadically to ward off any resistance. The robbers were believed to have trailed their victim to the bank.
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, said the police had foiled the bank robbery attempt, saying there was a gun battle between his men and the criminals. He, however, said that a policeman died in the incident.
On February 1, Boko Haram insurgents ambushed a police convoy on the MaiduguriDamboa highway in Borno State. A policeman was said to have died while three others were wounded. The insurgents reportedly opened fire on the convey at a remote village of Kubuwa in Damboa Local Government Area while they were on their way to Maiduguri. The area commander of the Biu police division was said to be among the convoy.
The police had, however, claimed that the attack was repelled, but added that one policeman was killed while another was injured. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Borno State command, DSP Victor Isuku, had said: “A police patrol vehicle from the Biu Area Command, on investigation activity to Maiduguri, was ambushed by persons believed to be Boko Haram terrorists at Kubuwa village in Damboa Local Government Area.
“The team fought gallantly and was able to repel the attackers, who ran into the bush, with some of them sustaining injuries. However, we lost a policeman while another sustained gunshot injuries. The injured policeman is responding to treatment,” the PPRO had said.
The cases above are among the 33 reported incidents where officers and men of the police were killed between January and May this year.
Investigation by Daily Trust on Sunday revealed that a total of 59 officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force were killed and eight others injured in several incidents within the period in review in 18 states across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It was further revealed that those killed ranged from the ranks of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), inspectors, sergeants, corporals to constables. Among them was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of ‘C’ Division, Asaba, Valentine Mbalu, whose decomposing corpse was found in a bush at Umunede in Delta State. The DPO was abducted by unidentified gunmen on March 3, 2017 on his way to Asaba after spending weekend with his family in Agbor.
April recorded the highest cases of deaths, totaling 21 while March came second with 16 cases. February and January recorded 9 and 8 deaths respectively while May recorded 6.
Within the period in review, the following states recorded deaths of officers and men of the police: Lagos (12); Adamawa (5); Kogi (6); Ogun (5); Niger (4); Delta (4); FCT (4); Yobe (3); Anambra (3); Rivers (2); Enugu (2); Ondo (2); Sokoto (2); Akwa Ibom (2); Borno (1); Kaduna (1); Bayelsa (1); Benue (1).
An analysis of the reported cases shows that the South-West zone of the country recorded the highest deaths of policemen within the period, followed by the NorthCentral, which recorded 11. The North-East and the South-South zones had 9 deaths respectively while three cases each were recorded in the North-West and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Five policemen were reportedly killed in the South-East.
In September last year, the Nigeria Police Force had expressed worry over the incessant deaths of its officers across the country. In a statement by its spokesman, DCP Don N. Awunah, on Wednesday, November 23, the police revealed that it had lost 128 officers and men in the last quarter of the year.
According to the statement, “The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim K. Idris, has described as deeply worrisome, the rate at which officers and men lose their lives in the course of discharging their statutory duties.
“These deaths, occasioned by unwarranted attacks by religious bigots, bandits, hoodlums and militants, must be reversed and the trend halted.’’
It would be recalled that a police sergeant lost his life alongside 20 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiite, after both sides clashed in Kano on Monday, November 14 last year. The police said it opened fire on the Shiite group in self-defence because they were armed with dangerous weapons.