By Mohammed Baba Busu
The recent wave of attacks, condemnation and name- calling against the Nigeria Police Force as an institution and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Ibrahim Kpotun-Idris, as a person, has become a source of concern to well-meaning Nigerians.
It is even more worrisome to hear such attacks and condemnations coming from those who are supposed to know and understand the security dynamics and challenges of the country.
It is further more painful and in some cases, annoying to hear even law makers who should be solidly behind any move that will ensure the security of lives and oneness of the country, are the ones raining all manner of condemnations against the Police Force and the person of the IGP.
The recent call by the House of Representatives for the replacement of the IGP over the herdsmen and farmers clashes in Benue State can best be described as a call done in bad faith considering the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force and, indeed the IGP in addressing the situation.
Since the recent killings of over 70 people by suspected herdsmen in Benue State, the IGP has remain restless and sleepless. He has, since then, been working both day and night to find lasting solution to the challenge. The Police Force under his watch has introduced various strategies to ensure that the killings are stopped permanently.
In fact, to say that the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force is not doing enough on the Benue herdsmen/farmers clashes is to deliberately demoralise them and weaken their resolve to fight the situation to its dead end.
This is because, apart from the IGP relocating to Benue State as directed by the President during the heat of the crisis, the Police has also deployed more troops to the state to arrest the situation.
While relocating to Benue, IGP Idris moved with additional five units of Police Mobile Force (PMF). More Units of the Police Special Forces, Counter Terrorism Units, and Conventional Policemen were also deployed to the State.
The Aerial Surveillance by Police Helicopters has continued since then, while the Police Mobile Force Personnel, Police Special Forces and conventional Police Personnel, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams were also deployed to Benue State.
This has led to the arrest of over 143 suspects in connection with the killings in Benue State. Of that number, a little over 100 have been charged to court within this shortest period. Apart from that, few days ago, the IGP directed that more troops be deployed to the trouble areas of Nasarawa and Benue states.
To show his commitment to the permanent resolution of the crisis, when he was at Benue, the IGP visited and had interaction with the Tor Tiv, Prof James Ayatse and other 10 First Class paramount rulers in Makurdi. At the palace, the IGP advocated for closer cooperation between the police and the general public in order to ensure effective policing of the state.
Also, while in Benue, in order to boost confidence and also encourage the people of the areas directly affected by the killings, the IGP visited the hot and trouble spots of Gbajimba, headquarters of Guma local government area of the state.
In fact, three days ago, the IGP deployed 15 additional police units, Special Forces, technical and intelligence teams to contain further attacks in Benue State.
With all these efforts, it is worrisome for some members of the House of Representatives to call for the sack or replacement of the IGP over the killings in Benue.
The members of the House of Representatives and in fact, all Nigerians need to know that since coming in of the current leadership of the Nigeria Police Force under Ibrahim Idris, there has been remarkable visible achievements.
Despite the fact that the Force is working under a very tight budget, under personnel and ill-equipped which is well known by all members of the House and indeed, most Nigerians, it has, under IGP Idris performed excellently in the arrest of kidnappers, cattle rustlers, armed robbers and other criminal elements in different parts of the country.
As at the last count, over 3000 suspected kidnappers, armed robbers and cattle rustlers have been arrested in different parts of the country. Most of them have since been charged to court.
There is no doubt, every life is very important and remains sacred, hence, should not be terminated unnecessarily. It is also important to note that the IGP and the entire Nigeria Police Force has been doing their best to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of their location in the country.
It is therefore necessary to call on all Nigerians to, rather than, condemn and malign the Nigeria Police Force and the IGP, they should do everything possible to support them to perform their constitutional roles better.
On the other hand, the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, should, in their capacity as law makers, support the police through budgetary allocations and ensure its release to enable the police get more equipment.
This is indeed, not the best of times to trade blames and call for the sack of anyone. It is rather time for all of us to join hands together and also encourage the police for the interest of the country.
Mohammed Baba Busu, a public affairs analyst wrote from Abuja.