•Stakeholders laud Arase, Idris on silent revolution in policing
By Kehinde Aderemi
Over the years, officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force have hardly been in the good books of the public. When it comes to crime investigation and detection, the police usually receive jeers rather than cheers from the public.
But all that appears to be changing. In 2016, the police recorded significant success stories in crime investigation and detection. And stakeholders are applauding the crime-fighters.
In the past, the police failed to crack several high profile murder cases including that of a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Chief Bola Ige; ex-Deputy National Chairman, South-South, of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Aminasoari Dikibo as well as other top politicians – Alfred Rewane, Funsho Williams, Marshal Harry and Dipo Dina, among others.
“Until 2015, the police were last celebrated for effective investigations and arrests 17 years ago. Then, a Commissioner of Police, Mike Okiro, had used the technology of the Internet to capture the killers of a former presidential aspirant, Lai Balogun, in Lagos, and the killers of Tor Tiv in Benue,” a security consultant, Dave Ubani, noted.
In September 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, who had just been sworn in a few months earlier, supported the establishment of an Intelligence Response Team (IRT) by the then Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase. After that, the sad narrative began to change. Cases after cases were cracked with bewildering rapidity.
Arase’s successor, Ibrahim Idris, has kept the flag flying by sustaining the legacy. He kept up the tempo with a series of accomplishments by using the IRT’s cutting-edge technology to arrest those who abducted the wife of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the killers of the Chief Security Officer of Dangote Group, among others, in 2016.
In just a year and two months as IGP, Arase’s attempts to revolutionise policing in Nigeria by integrating technology-driven solutions to all aspects of investigations also recorded many gains, according to Ubani.
Indeed, among such gains are the arrest and prosecution of kidnappers of former presidential aspirant, Chief Olu Falae; arrest and prosecution of Kuje and Nyanya bombing terrorists; arrest and prosecution of Fulani kidnapping gang terrorizing Oyo State; the rescue of Ese Oruru from her abductor who was later charged to court in Bayelsa State; foiling of planned bank robbery and arrest of three suspected armed robbers in Ondo State.
There was also the arrest and prosecution of members of a deadly armed robbery gang who allegedly killed a pregnant woman and several others at Super Cell Estate, Abuja, including the murder of six Fulani herdsmen in their sleep; arrest and prosecution of 14 suspects involved in the Festac/Lekki/Ikorodu/Agbara bank robberies in Delta, Ogun, Lagos and Ondo States respectively; arrest of a notorious armed robber/terrorist involved in the attack on the DSS office in Lokoja, Kogi State and Military operatives in Okene; arrest and prosecution of kidnappers of three school girls from Babington Macaulay Junior School, Ikorodu, Lagos State; foiling of major bank robbery and bureau-de-change attack in Seme Border with the arrest of three suspects; arrest of suspects in the Nimbo Community in Enugu State, and the arrest of the gang leader of some kidnappers in Kaduna alongside six other gang members.
Others include the arrest of kidnappers of Senator Iyabo Anisulowo in Ogun State and the arrest of the killers of Col. Samaila Yunusa in Kaduna State, which earned Arase a special commendation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusufu Buratai.
Buratai had stated: “On behalf of the families of the late Colonel Samaila Inusa, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army we wish to thank the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase for tracking and arresting the kidnappers and murderers of the late Colonel Samaila Inusa of the Nigerian Army and smashing the deadly kidnapping and armed robbery syndicate.
“The Chief of Army Staff specifically wishes to thank the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Kaduna State Command Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) operatives for their dedication to duty and professionalism that led to the arrest of the criminals that abducted and killed the late senior officer in Kaduna metropolis, Kaduna State on 27th March, 2016.
“This unprecedented feat is a clear manifestation of the excellent cooperation existing between the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police which had flourished over time in joint operations to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians.”
Since the establishment of IRT, as a very compact, mobile and elitist special operations unit, its well-trained, highly equipped, and fully motivated operatives have professionally and optimally utilized the intelligence assets of the Force to respond to any security threat or social disorder in any part of the country and at very short notice.
A senior police officer, who didn’t want his name mentioned, told the reporter that all the cases cracked by the IRT in 2016 were highly complex crimes of national security importance. And it is on record that all the crimes in that category under the stewardship of Arase were all cracked. Suspects were arrested and prosecuted in record time and exhibits were recovered. This is unprecedented in the modern history of the NPF.”
The NPF ended its year of accomplishments with the arrest of a member of a militant gang that was allegedly out to blast the Third Mainland Bridge with dynamite on Boxing Day. The IRT leader, Abba Kyari, was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) shortly after the announcement of this accomplishment.
In other climes, police efficiency is measured based on their ability to respond to crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. Now that the NPF is replicating this standard in the country, Nigerians are waiting to see if the IGP will keep his promise and use the intelligence assets of the IRT to find the killers of Ige, Dikibo and several other Nigerians whose case files have gathered dust at police formations nationwide.