From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Recently, top police officers in Sokoto State converged on Balle Town in Gudu Local Government Area for the inauguratiuon of the town’s renovated police station.
The police station, which was constructed 21 years ago, had suffered neglect, with most of its facilities in a decrepit state. Residents even described the divisional police headquarters as an eyesore.
But now, the station is wearing a new look after the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Bitrus Gorroh Peni, gave it a facelift.
Peni, a Superintendent of Police, who was posted to the area in January this year, recently embarked on the renovation of the police divisional headquarters of the council.
Speaking during the visit of the Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulkadir, in charge of the state to the refurbished police station, Peni explained how he was able to achieve the feat. He said he was able to mobilise all stakeholders and influential people within the local government area and keyed them into carrying out a total renovation of the building.
His words: “At first, it looked impossible but with personal efforts and commitment, we were able to sustain the challenges.
“Through individual contributions, we raised over N750,000 for the renovation and construction of the new structures.”
Daily Sun gathered that a chunk of the financial burden fell on the DPO, but he said: “We are grateful to Almighty God that we achieved our target of giving a facelift to the police station.”
On why he decided to embark on such a project that should be the responsibility of the federal government, Peni said, as a trained security officer, he was aware that those fighting crime needed a conducive environment.
“I want to state that the motive is to support government’s efforts in all ramifications. My men and I will continue to support any laudable innovation and initiative made by Sokoto State Police Command to make the state crime-free,” he said.
While reading his welcome address at the launching of the new edifice, Peni told the CP that the people of Gudu were law-abiding citizens who had, at different times, indicated interest to support the division in diverse ways.
His words: “Permit me to appreciate the entire people of Gudu who, directly or indirectly, contributed immensely to ensure that the construction and renovation became a reality.
“Some of these people include Hon. Sani Yakubu, member of the House of Assembly, Sokoto State, the district heads of Balle, Kurrdulla and Bachaka.”
He described the feat as a memorable one in his life and pledged his loyalty to the Nigeria Police.
“It is the job that gives me joy. My happiness is being a policeman,” he said.
In his remarks, the district head of Gudu town, Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim, described Peni as a patriotic Nigerian and a rare police officer.
The traditional ruler also said the commitment of the police officer was worthy of emulation.
Speaking with Daily Sun in his palace, the community leader acknowledged that the police station had been uninhabitable for many years.
According to him, “this is a worthy development by a DPO who has only come to work here. Although he might be transferred any moment, he chose to do this as if he’s an indigene.
“The place was uninhabitable, but today you can see that he has renovated it to a standard that officers and men there would be motivated to work at their best.”
He described Peni’s feat as the first of its kind in the history of the police in the state and called on other DPOs across the state to emulate Peni in taking the initiative and putting up developmental efforts, without relying on government.
Ibrahim also called on the state government to assist the police officer, as a form of encouragement. He equally called on the Nigeria Police to encourage outstanding officers who go out of their way to impact positively on the communities where they wored.
Said he: “I call on other DPOs in Sokoto State to emulate Mr. Peni. I also call on the state government to assist him. The Nigeria Police Force should also encourage officers that have the zeal to improve their various places of work.”
On his part, Abdulkadir described Peni as a selfless and committed officer. He noted that the police officer had earned a name for himself by embarking on a project that would guarantee public safety and give the police station a new lease of life as well as boost the image of the police force.