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

Sunday Trust - - SUNDAY MENU - By Fidelis Mac-Leva

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.

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