DHQ and Remodelling Military-Police Synergy for Tackling Insecurity
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
It is one thing that many would consider bizarre. But it happened. And just recently. The Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Gen. Leo Irabor, became the first Head of the Nigerian Armed Forces, in recent times, to personally visit the leadership of the Nigerian Police.
The visit by Irabor to the Louis Edet House in Abuja was one that carried many imports, considering the age-long ‘mutual disdain’ personnel of the military and Nigerian police have for each other.
In the past, and on several occasions, there were instances military troops violently brutalized policemen, and vice versa, over mild and avoidable disputes, incidents that further strained the relationship between the police and the army.
A case in point is that of the notorious kidnapper, Wadume arrest’s episode. Wadume, whose real name is Alhaji Hamisu Bala, is the leader of a kidnapping syndicate, terrorizing parts of Taraba State.
“On August 6, 2019, policemen attached to the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, embarked on a journey to Taraba to arrest the alleged wanted kidnap kingpin, Wadume.
“The policemen and their civilian counterparts, while heading into Ibi village to arrest Wadume, drove pass a military checkout manned by soldiers from Battalion 93, Takum. The soldiers on duty asked for their identifications, which were presented. The policemen and soldiers even exchanged banters.
“After arresting Wadume, the policemen were heading out when the same soldiers, who had earlier joked with them, pursued their vehicle and opened fire on it along Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State.
“At least five people were killed in the attack, including the civilians. The dead included Inspector Mark Ediale, 36; Sergeant Dahiru Musa, 40; Owolabi Babajide, 24; Farouk Bashir, 30; and Usman Danazumi, 44.
“Some of the policemen escaped death by running into bushes. It would later be learnt that the soldiers attacked on the instruction of their superior, Captain Tijjani Balarabe.
“After killing and injuring some of the policemen, the soldiers left with the Wadume. They went to the Battalion 93, Takum cantonment and removed his handcuffs. They allowed him to go, thinking he would disappear into thin air.
“But members of IRT Operatives, pained by the death of their colleagues, worked round the clock, hunting for Wadume and seeking answers for the attack. Wadume was finally tracked to his uncle’s house in Kano State and arrested.
“After his arrest, Wadume started singing like a bird and told Nigerians that Captain Balarabe was on his payroll. He further alleged that Balarabe had ordered the attack on the policemen to secure his freedom,” was how a national daily relayed the unfortunate event.
The Nigerian Police, in the eyes of many citizens, is one institution that cannot favourably compete with the military, in terms of having stellar reputation, and image.
While it may appear sarcastic, not a few persons, especially the uninformed, share the sentiment that policemen, unlike soldiers, are tepid when it comes to tackling criminal elements like armed robbers, bandits, petty thieves, hoodlums, and kidnappers, to mention a few.
But truth be told, the reason behind drafting in the military to assist in quelling internal upheavals across the country, lately, is not unconnected with the fact that the police and other security agencies saddled with the responsibility, appear to be overwhelmed, apparently.
The Senate Committee on Army, about two years ago, expressed concern that the Nigerian Army was being overwhelmed since it started providing internal security in different states of the federation.
Then, the Committee’s Chairman, Mohammed Ali Ndume, said the Army was currently operating in at least 33, out of 36 states of the Federation.
He was speaking while meeting with then General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Usman Mohammed, during an oversight visit to various Army formations in Kaduna State.
While concerned stakeholders worry over the overstretching of military troops drafted for internal operations, Irabor, in his remark at the Louis Edet House, reiterated the Nigerian Armed Forces’ commitment to working mutually with the Police Force leadership.
He disclosed that efforts are in place to collaborate with the Police on ways to further improve the lingering insecurity challenges confronting the nation.
According to him, efforts put in place by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, in tackling various security challenges experienced in the country in recent times, cannot be overemphasized.
“And as such, working in synergy with the Nigerian Police to protect and secure lives and properties of Nigerians will be paramount to the two security agencies,” said the CDS.
While speaking further, Gen. Irabor, stressed the importance of improving their level of efficiency and also reviewing their strategies of addressing security threats in the country, pledging the military’s support to the Police.
Responding, IGP Alkali Baba, expressed belief that the renewed collaboration between the military and their Police management will assists curb rising insecurity.
Indeed, there is a glimmer of hope that the inter-agency collaboration among security agencies, which Irabor is already championing, will help the military and other security agencies tackle insecurity decisively.
And in the long run, assist the federal government, particularly, overhaul the country’s entire security architecture.
*Mahmud, Deputy Editor of PRNigeria, wrote in via: email@example.com*
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Report By: PRNigeria.com