From Joe Effiong, Uyo
President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a marching order to security operatives in Nigeria to immediately bring to an end the current wanton burning of police facilities and killing police officers by unknown gunmen in the South South and southeastern zones of the country.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in-charge of the South East and South-South, Moses Jitoboh, who delivered the order while addressing security stakeholders at the Akwa State Police Command headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia, Uyo, on Tuesday, explained that the President has been worried by the frequency of the incidents in recent days.
DIG Jitoboh said the move, known as “Operation Restore Peace”, is hinged on the premise that never again will any policeman be killed unjustly and police formations attacked and destroyed.
The Inspector General of Police mandated him as the most senior officer in the South South to be the theatre commander of a new operation called “Operation Restore Peace”.
DIG Jitoboh said that he has visited Ikot Akpan, in Essien Udim local, which is the hotbed of attacks on police formation, explaining that the internal security of the state would be reorganised and reinforced to function better with community policing to be well coordinated for effectiveness.
The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, has instructed and formed a special squad for the South-South and South East which is being coordinated by the IG himself. The IG has directed me as the most senior officer from the South-South to be the theatre commander of what we call “Operation Restore Peace”.
‘We have to restore peace that is almost broken, we have to bring peace together and the way we are going to do it, Nigeria and the world would be grateful. Men and assets have been deployed, of which the IGP launched in Enugu and Port Harcourt. We have put down mechanisms in place to tackle attacks on Police formations.
‘I want to tell the people of Akwa Ibom State that peace is here. Peace will be restored. “Operation Restore Peace” has come to stamp its feet and we want to tell them that we have adopted a slogan, ‘never again’. Never again will policemen be killed unjustly; never again will police stations be burnt, never again.
‘I have gone to Ikot Akpan in Essien Udim, the biggest hotbed, we have dominated that place, the Police have taken over everything there and peace has been restored. So, never again will the police take all these killings and wanton destruction of properties.
‘I am also here to tell you that with what has happened we will change the internal security so that it would be better. The internal security of this state will be reengineered and you will have a better police force. We will retool our community policing to make it better,’ he said.
The DIG explained that police authority was reviewing the welfare package for officers and men of the Nigerian Police, the provision of necessary facilities to enable policemen work better and boost their battered image owing to recent attacks on policemen and police formations.
Jitoboh, who is in charge of Research and Planning, Force Headquarters, added that ‘the Inspector General of Police is looking into the welfare of the police, gratuities and pension. He is working on it, and the President of the country has given him that assurance that it will take place soonest. Policemen will start smiling.’