President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operation of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has condemned the killing of three police detectives in Taraba State, calling it a “preventable tragedy.” He said that the violence quotient in Taraba State is too high and that is what played out on the Biu-Jalingo Highway on August 6.
In a press statement, reacting to the killing of three police officers by soldiers, Ekhomu said: “The widespread use of the military in public law enforcement carries grave risks as they are not trained for such duties. It should, therefore, be severely curtailed, and the Nigeria Police Force empowered to carry out their constitutional duties.”
He said that the military personnel used excessive deadly force in trying to arrest the 10 police personnel, who they believed were kidnappers.
Ekhomu said that the incident highlighted poor law enforcement tactics and poor interagency cooperation “particularly in the operational realm”. He said police undercover detectives suffer a lot of workplace violence as they are often mistaken for hoodlums and attacked by members of the public and even by other law enforcement officers. “In the Taraba State projectile encounter, the police detectives should have adequately informed police and military authorities that they were operating in the area,” he said.
The security expert said since Taraba State has a high frequency of herdsmen/farmer clashes, Tiv-Jukun communal clashes, kidnappings and other terrorist offenses, the state was a hotbed of targeted violence.
In this regard, proper notification of the military authorities was a tactical imperative, which might have prevented what happened, he added.
Ekhomu, who is the first chartered security professional in West Africa, said that the claim that the police detectives ignored military checkpoints was quite troubling as that might have precipitated the tragic occurrence. He said that when police detectives are running covert operations, they have a duty to properly identify themselves to other law enforcement or military personnel mounting checkpoints.