FEATURE ARTICLE

Thursday, April 8, 2021
keshiafrica@gmail.com

ATTACKS ON POLICE OFFICERS AND FORMATIONS, NEED FOR ALL HANDS TO BE ON DECK

hile the North East and other regions of the north have been overwhelmed by all manner of criminality ranging from the Book Haram insurgency, banditry, rape, kidnap, among others, the South East region predominantly have witnessed a new crime wave.

The trend has manifested in hoodlums incessantly attacking police formations and officers and carting away ammunitions.

At least six police officers have been killed by unknown gunmen in Abia in the past one month.The last attack against police in the state occurred on March 22 when some yet-to-be-identified gunmen ambushed a police patrol team in Abiriba, Ohafia Local Government Area, killed three officers, set the patrol vehicle ablaze, and fled with the rifles belonging to the slain officers.

Shortly after the Abiriba incident, and before Jack could be spelt, a gang of hoodlums launched another deadly attack on correctional facilities, where inmates of the facilities escaped, and police formation in neighbouring Imo State.

Abia State government, in its usual proactive was prompted by this ugly incident to commence a curfew in major cities of the state from 10 pm to 6am.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information in Abia State, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said the curfew in the two cities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily and is to begin on Easter Monday, April 5 “till further notice.”

Kalu said the curfew was based on a “security report” received by the state government and “the need to continue to protect innocent citizens and residents of the state.”

“Security agencies in the state have been directed to ensure strict enforcement and compliance with the directive. Only those on essential services with proper identification are exempted from the curfew.

“We urge traditional rulers, men of the State Homeland Security Team and Community Vigilante Services in the state to monitor movement of persons within their respective domains and take necessary measures to protect the people and their property,” the statement said.

This recent ugly crime trend bedeviling some South East and South South states calls for urgent adoption of appropriate approaches to address, lest this part of the country is sitting on a keg of gun powder which may explode any moment in the nearest future.

It equally raises some questions that beg for urgent attention. The questions demanding urgent resolution are: what are the destinations of these looted arms and ammunitions? Another is what are the purposes for which these arms and ammunitions are amassed in larger quantity?

At this juncture, we don't need a soot sayer to predict the implications of situations when arms and ammunitions illegally circulate in the hands of unauthorised hands, smarting from the ugly experiences of the kidnap era that hit this part of the country about a decade ago.

Like wildfires begin small before they engulf major cities, the ugly kidnap experiences began small when outcries from appropriate quarters greeted the unprecedented proliferation of small arms and light weapons that greeted the country, especially the South East. And if the destinations of these looted arms and the purposes for which they are looted are not resolved, we may be in for another disaster.

On this note, all hands must be on deck to check this ugly trend and put this menace on bay.

These measures should manifest through governments and security agencies in the affected states upping their ante in intelligence gathering and surveillance to enable the agencies pro actively and reasonably predicting potential crime with near perfect accuracy rather than being reactive.

Governments on this note should not only rely on engaging security agencies but must recognise the need to devote attention to security intelligence.

In addition to this, Close Circuit Televisions should be mounted in strategic locations, especially police formations to monitor human and other movements. Besides, this scheme should be well- managed as to ensure that those cameras are of high quality and the images collected should be sent to a monitor and recorded on video tape or as digital information. This trend is the primary approach to crime fighting which aims at discouraging crime from taking place by nipping such crime in the bud. It is not only operational effective but also cost effective.

Also, there is a greater and urgent need to modernise the security agencies with training, intelligence sharing, advanced technology, logistics, motivation and change of orientation. This will enhance the operational capabilities of the security agents by identifying avenues that would enable them respond appropriately to the security challenge in question.

If the listed measures strictly applied, they will go a long way in checking the current security challenge.

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