…Overhaul the state police architecture
…Review the activities of the Imo anti-kidnapping squad, tiger base
I am happy to once again congratulate you on what your colleagues and those who have known you longer than now, believe is a deserving elevation to the rank of Inspector-General of Police, standing you out, as the number one crime fighter in the world’s largest nation. Like every good fortune, this comes with its own expectations and challenges. You have a chance to carry out your responsibilities like everyone else before you had done, or to make a mark for eternity by doing things differently and correctly.
I will not bog you with tales of the challenges that the Nigerian Police face, especially, the distrust of the Force by a majority of Nigerians, because I am convinced that you know about these a lot more than my faint knowledge can convey to you. I will rather want to remind you about the challenges my people of Imo State are facing due to politically motivated and government-sustained acts of insecurity and criminality across the State.
Sir, you may have been briefed that Imo State has over the last three years, degenerated into one of the most terrorised States in the country with thousands of lives lost, billions of Naira worth of properties destroyed, and thousands of people displaced from their homes. Many square kilometres of the State are under the firm control of bandits, whose sponsorship the governor has consistently told us is political. People vanish every day without traces and it appears the security agencies are either overwhelmed or are hamstrung by political interferences.
While I may not have certain details of the security situation or be able to proffer expert ideas on how to effectively arrest the unfortunate situation we have found ourselves in in Imo State, I am equipped with the necessary information that is in the public domain concerning the security situation.
Over the last two years, the Uzodimma regime set up a controversial security outfit which is officially known as the Imo Security Organisation (ISO) but popularly known as Ebubeagu militia by most Imolites.
This outfit has caused a lot of carnage across the State, killing people extrajudicially, burning houses and even on occasions, setting an entire market ablaze. Youths are hounded and harassed and they extort innocent people; interfering in issues like family disputes, land disputes and even romantic affairs.
They have become the government’s official hit squad, accused of involvement in several politically motivated atrocities in the State, including the invasion of Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere’s country home in Akokwa, which left three people dead and over a billion Naira worth of properties destroyed.
Sadly, even though the governor quickly came out to announce to the world that he knew the perpetrators of that act, not a single person has been arrested. This tends to give credence to suspicions in several quarters that the hoodlums acted under the direct authorisation of the governor.
A few days ago, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, a notorious criminal and terrorist who is free today not because he is innocent but due to a presidential amnesty granted to elements like him, came out to confirm what everybody had always known; that his boys, that is, the criminals under his control, are behind the numerous atrocities across Imo State. While he claimed that these boys are providing security in Imo State, the truth is that they are behind most of the terrorist activities taking place in the State.
Sir, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria might have given authorisation to the local government authorities to form and maintain community-based vigilante organisation, but I am not aware of any provision in the Constitution or a legal security strategy of the Federation which permits the recruitment of criminals from outside a State or locality for the purported purpose of providing security. It is still shocking that two weeks after Asari made this embarrassing revelation, he is still walking free and collecting tolls on the blood of many Imolites killed by his boys. As I write, many of our people are in the captivity of this group of terrorists, and they collect huge ransoms before releasing them.
Dear IGP, they may not have briefed you, but the truth is that the Imo anti-kidnapping unit of the Force which used to be a very effective combatant squad against kidnapping and all manner of violent crimes in the State has been allegedly converted to a political militia of the ruling All Progressives Congress under the alleged command of the governor’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Mr. Chinasa Nwaneri.
This supposed Special Squad of the Force has become an instrument for political harassment, intimidation, assassination and all sorts of crime against the people of Imo State.
Known as the Tiger Squad and the facility housing them known as Tiger Base, this team under the command of a certain Supol Ola has become so notorious and unprofessional that Imolites accused members of this squad of personally hijacking ballot boxes during the last election, providing cover for APC leaders to perpetrate all manner of electoral atrocities and as well being willing tools in the hands of APC leaders in framing up political opponents and critics of the rudderless regime going on in Imo State.
It is shocking but true that regular police officers now run a joint team with the criminals operating under the cover of Ebubeagu. To make matters more embarrassing, it has been alleged by those who have had close contact with both the Ebubeagu militia and the Tiger Squad team that Police officers now take directives from commanders of the Ebubeagu militia and defer to them in operational issues. What an embarrassment to the Nigerian Police Force!
As would be expected, the immediate consequence of the activities of the Force in Imo State and the seeming complacency of the Nigerian Police Force management is that Imolites have lost absolute trust in the Force and would rather prefer to be extorted by all manners of criminals and non-State actors than to trust the police with information or seek their assistance when in trouble. You would agree with me that it is nigh impossible for any form of crime fighting to succeed where the Police lack the support and trust of the people. Unless such police will operate as an enemy of the populace instead of their friends.
There are reports that the governor has the police force in his pocket and can do with them whatever he desires because he gives the top officers of the Force what they want. Many believe that Uzodimma has succeeded in keeping the policing architecture in Imo intact, as a result of his “special relationship” with the top echelon of the Force and his contacts within the presidency and not because the police believe that it is operationally necessary to retain the same officers who have absolutely lost the trust of the people.
Let me gossip to you, the belief among Imolites, especially with the emergence of your smiley pictures with my governor; they say you have collected your share of the “special things” that our governor likes to give and you would most likely look the other way while our people are massacred every day and we continue to lose our means of livelihood to hoodlums while the police look on, presumably, helplessly. I do not know if this is true, but I am merely whispering the preponderance opinion on the streets and homes in my dear State. Is it true, Sir?
I will not tell you what to do in your job, even though I have a right to do that because I am a bonafide Nigerian and you are my servant rather than my tormentor, but I will recommend that you send an independent, incorruptible and highly professional team of detectives to Imo to put their ears on the ground and hear from the people and observe the activities of your officers. I assure you, your ears will bleed blood from the findings you will get.
Would you continue to allow Asari Dokubo’s criminals to continue to torment and kill our people, under the guise of Ebubeagu? Would you wait until we take our fate in our hands and pour into the streets to sacrifice ourselves to the bullets of your bloodthirsty balaclava-wearing officers and their Ebubeagu acolytes? We are a long-suffering people, and we will wait and see what you will do with us.
Thank you. My name is Onwuasoanya FCC Jones
A concerned Imolite and former State Publicity Secretary of the APC. 30-06-2023.BEWARE All Rights Reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without prior express written permission from Juliana Francis