Intrigues as Police Commissioner intensifies fight against criminals in FCT

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IG POLICE

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory have condemned in their numbers the barrage of attacks launched against the newly appointed Commissioner of Police for the Territory’s Command, Bennett Igwe following strong indications that some high ranking politicians are working round the clock to force his removal.

Igwe was appointed FCT Commissioner of Police on January 31 as announced by the Public Relations Officer of the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani.

He was the Deputy Commissioner Operations of the FCT Command before the appointment.

Some of the residents that cut across civil and public servants, businessmen and women of different cadre who spoke with The Point claimed that the arrival of the Commissioner of Police drastically arrested the insecurity menace that bedeviled the territory by reducing kidnapping to the level that people can now go about their businesses without fear of falling victims.

Musa Ibrahim, a trader told The Point that when kidnappers took over Abuja and its suburbs, he was afraid of going to market as early as he used to go because of the fear of joining vehicles in the early hours of morning and that drastically affected his business but since the new Commissioner of Police came, things have normalized.

“I live in Bwari but I come to Garki every day for my business as a trader. I used to leave my house very early in the morning before kidnappers began to kidnap people in Abuja, particularly our side. Our roads and area became so bad and so I stopped leaving my house very early. Before I could leave the house it would be around 10 O’clock in the morning because I want to be sure of the vehicles I will join.

“Kidnappers don’t know Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. So why are people bringing that sentiment to destroy the good work that the CP and his team are doing? I don’t support it”

“Imagine a trader going to market by that time when I am supposed to be selling. Now since the new Commissioner of Police came, everybody knows that things have improved. Security is now tight. There can still be insecurity in some places but I tell you we have peace now. I don’t support those who are accusing him of targeting a particular people. I’m from the north and I know many northerners have been kidnapped, some killed the same with other people so if the kidnappers are from the north, let them be arrested. If they are from the south let them be arrested, all we want is peace in Abuja so that we can do our normal business. The Commissioner of Police is really trying and Insha Allah, he will restore peace in Abuja.”

Ibrahim also condemned those who are accusing the Commissioner of Police of targeting some sections of the country and tagged them tribal bigots and enemies of the country who benefit from crises in the country.

“Yes there are people who have been accusing the CP of targeting people from the north. They even went on radio to discuss it. But this is very bad. Like I said, I am from the north, I am a trader and I go about my business daily. Nobody has arrested me and accused me of kidnapping so also many others. If the police arrest anybody and accuse him or her of being a member of kidnappers the person should clear himself or herself. The tribe or religion of the person should not be his or her defence, anyone defending such people should be arrested too because he is benefiting from the money they are collecting from people. Wallahi, before now, Bwari was not a place to live. Some people left their own houses and packed out to be tenants in some places. Kidnappers don’t know Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. So why are people bringing that sentiment to destroy the good work that the CP and his team are doing? I don’t support it,” he said.

Another trader, Bulus Baba, said CP Igwe as the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command is a blessing and the best decision the Inspector General of Police has taken so far.

“The Inspector General of Police has shown that his promise to fight dirty with criminals is workable by posting Igwe as the CP of FCT. All of a sudden, Abuja became home for kidnappers and numerous criminals. Every day we were faced with one crime or the other. People will be sleeping in their homes. The next story is that kidnappers entered and carried everybody away. You enter vehicles you don’t know you are heading into the forest with kidnappers. Imagine a trader struggling to feed his family in this hardship, they will carry you and demand millions of naira from your family and before you know it, they will kill one of you and post the recording on the internet. How much of such news have we heard since Igwe came?
“The kidnappers are now afraid. Those who are accusing the CP of collecting money from people and arresting a particular tribe should be invited by the police for questioning.
They are hiding something the police must unravel. If we continue like this, and if they have their way and Igwe is transferred or removed, Abuja will become a warfront and these Kidnappers will be carrying people from the street in broad daylight and nobody will stop them. We should support the CP and his men to fish out these criminals rather than bringing in tribal sentiments. Kidnappers don’t know the tribe.”

A civil servant who preferred anonymity described the comments and attacks on CP Igwe’s fight against insecurity in the FCT as proof that some people are benefitting from kidnapping more than Nigerians could imagine.

He said after reading a story on one online publication calling for the sack or transfer of the CP he felt so bad that some people could hate Nigeria and Nigerians with a passion.

According to him, “It’s not about tribe and religion. It’s about greed, selfishness and natural hatred for humanity. How can someone call for the transfer of the CP with flimsy excuses that he is only targeting where some people do their traditional sport (dambe) to go and pack them? Why are the police not packing people in the market or church and mosque? People should be sincere to themselves and show a little love for this country. Many of these rich men do not believe in Nigeria and they are the people behind these plots to remove him. They want things to continue getting worse so that the poor remain poorer while they continue to make their money by all means but I am happy President Tinubu will not listen to them.

“Do you know that even the one-chance people are now afraid of plying Abuja roads since CP Igwe took over? How many times have you heard of one-chance in the news talk less of kidnappers? Before now Kubwa, Lugbe Airport, Jabi Life Camp roads were plied at owners’ risk. You can leave the house for work and never return. It’s no longer so. Those who are claiming that the CP is only arresting people who are going for traditional sport (dambe) should advise them to stay away till the police finish cleansing the FCT of these criminals. Are they doing traditional sport in the places terrorists and bandits have taken over, that’s the big question. In fact, we want all the Commissioners of Police to be like Igwe so that our country will be rid of crimes and criminality. Gone were the days when people would whip religious and tribal sentiments to sabotage good works of the government. I expect the police and DSS to trail those making such unguarded utterances whether on the radio or social media and arrest them. Nigeria is bigger than any individual,” he said.

“The coming of the new Commissioner of Police, Igwe to the FCT is a blessing of God,” were the words of a Clergyman, Chukwuemeka Chukwuma who said before Igwe’s coming, his church which is located at Ushafa was considering to stop evening services because of the kidnappers.

The Clergyman argued that those who are calling for the removal of the CP who has done tremendous work in less than two months are the same people who were blaming the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike of incompetence.

“You see the problem of Nigeria. People will mean one thing and say another thing. When kidnapping ravaged FCT that people were kidnapped almost every day, some people brought unnecessary sentiments by blaming President Tinubu for appointing Wike and not a northerner claiming that he was more interested in Rivers State Politics than the FCT. Now, a very competent Commissioner of Police who is working with the Minister has been appointed, their antics have moved to tribal and religion. When will all these rots end? When will these so-called big men and politicians stop dividing Nigerians and Nigeria for their selfishness is a big question. We will continue to pray for the CP and his officers and men. God will use them to clear these evil men and restore peace in the FCT. Already we are experiencing peace.”

Recently, a radio station in the FCT in one of its programmes accused the CP of using his men to extort money from people from some sections of the country by invading the arenas where they fight their local traditional sport and even arrested them.

However, a security expert who pleaded anonymity told The Point that what the discussants did in that radio programme was unethical and wondered why the National Broadcasting Commission has not sanctioned the station even till now.

“That vernacular programme on radio that was castigating the CP and accusing him and his men of extortion and targeting a section of the country should not go without a sanction.

In security, what they did was inciting to cause unrest and if there is no punitive measure very soon others will follow suit and before you know it they will move from the protest against high cost of living to protest for the removal of the CP. I expect the IGP to call for the arrest of those behind that radio programme. The CP is working for the security of Nigerians and other nationals living in Abuja. This must get into our heads,” he said.

The security expert also said the FCT has been enjoying some level of calmness for some time now and encouraged the residents to support the security agencies particularly the police led by CP Igwe to cleanse the territory of crime and criminality, adding, “Criminals do not discriminate. When kidnappers come, they will not ask you whether you are Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa. What they are interested in is the ransom you will pay them. They are careless about your being a Muslim or Christian, so we must stop this bigotry and join hands in securing our lives and property. The CP has pleaded with us to see something and say something and I believe strongly that if we act accordingly in support of the cause, we will be better off. We have the police we can trust, let’s not forget it’s our social responsibility to work with the police to secure us.”

An Uber driver who didn’t disclose his name recalled how one of their colleagues lost both his life and vehicle to the criminals and said they have been operating with fear. He said when the news about the kidnapping of one of them got to them, some of them were considering quitting, however, due to economic hardship they could not but since the appointment of the new CP, they have been operating without fear.

“Our business is dealing with the people. As commercial drivers who operate on all roads, when we get calls from clients, we entertain no fears but when the Abuja kidnapping began and one of us was kidnapped and killed, his vehicle stolen, we became afraid and some of us wanted to stop the business but this new CP has given us hope. The way he is working with his men is an assurance that the criminals will soon run out of Abuja. We must give him all our support to make Abuja a peaceful place again.”

Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer, FCT Command, Superintendent of Police, Josephine Adeh said the CP will not be distracted or deterred by the sponsored attacks against his person for doing the good work which has returned peace to the Territory within the few weeks he assumed office.

She said the Command doesn’t want to join issues with those carrying the propaganda because the CP is not the type that talks; he is focused on the job.

“We don’t want to comment or react to those carrying all this propaganda because our CP doesn’t talk, his own responsibility is to do the work and get it done and as you can see that is what has been happening since his appointment. He doesn’t want to be going to functions and be talking. He wants to do the job he was sent to do. He is just after getting the peace in FCT restored and for those people that are complaining, you know when you are fighting crime, you don’t expect crime to be quiet. Crime will also fight back. It’s just evidence to show you that those people have one thing or the other that they are doing illegally and this action this CP is taking will stop them from continuing to do what they are doing. So they will cry.”

The PPRO dared those peddling propaganda to come out with their evidence if they have any against the CP insisting that he would not look back in his resolve to stampede crime and criminals out of the FCT as long as he remains the CP.

“If you check the past Commissioners of Police in the FCT, nobody has been able to raid that place because the owners are very powerful and they have been supporting and condoning a lot of illegal activities there. The criminals and the things we got from there were paraded. We put them out there and people saw them”

“Those people carrying propaganda and tarnishing the image of the CP and our Command should come out with their evidence if they have any. We don’t have any option than to continue with the good work residents of the FCT said we are doing. If we are doing bad work let them come out and say the bad work we are doing with their evidence.”

Speaking on the traditional sport (dambe), SP Adeh said, “you know there is one sport they do called dambe, we received intelligence that in that place hardened criminals use it as a hideout. The Hausa people who are not comfortable with the activities going on there came and gave us the intelligence that most of the hardened criminals come to hide their, mess up with women, take their hard drugs and plan their evil activities which led to our raiding that place. If you check the past Commissioners of Police in the FCT, nobody has been able to raid that place because the owners are very powerful and they have been supporting and condoning a lot of illegal activities there. The criminals and the things we got from there were paraded. We put them out there and people saw them.”

The PPRO admitted that “of course, when police is raiding, there must be innocent people who are caught being in the place they are not supposed to be at that time so we got those people and that was the reason when we came back to the office we profiled those people and confirmed they genuinely went there to relax and then we released them. Out of 307 we were able to charge over 160 to court. So, let them continue to carry their propaganda, we will continue to do the right thing. At least residents of FCT are testifying that within a few weeks our CP assumed office, the territory has known peace.”