From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Alkali Usman, has said activities of Ebubeagu and other state-owned security outfits were being regulated and checked.
The police chief spoke yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he featured in the 57th session of State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.
He said the state-owned security outfits had been created to curb crime and criminality as states had been told not to use the outfits for political reasons.
“Ebubuagu in Ebonyi, we have on many occasions, checked their highhandedness by arresting and investigating those who have actually gone out of their way to commit crime and we have charged them to court.
“If we can charge our personnel for highhandedness and other activities, there is nobody who is going to be exempted. If there is any specific case that the police have not gone into concerning those outfits, you mention it; but to the best of our knowledge, theory and practice may differ.”
According to Usman, the outfits should avoid being influenced by either primordial loyalty, inducement or other things in discharging their duties.
He warned that officers of the outfits who derail from their legal duties would be prosecuted.
“Some people go out of their way to do the wrong thing and they will be charged. And that is why, if these outfits are created by the governors, we are invited to educate them on the extent of their engagement in crime prevention and control.
“We are checking them; they are also good, bad and ugly; they have their good sides. That is why they needed to be checkmated and we doing that,’’ he said.
He cautioned politicians to shun violence and abide by extant rules and agreements on peaceful conduct of campaigns and avoid violent clashes during electioneering.
The warning came 14 hours after scores of supporters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar were injured on Wednesday when hoodlums, attacked his convoy in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He gave the warning while responding to questions bordering on recent attacks on the campaign rallies and political events in Rivers, Kaduna and Borno States during the weekly ministerial briefing at the presidential villa on Thursday.
On the Wednesday attack in Maiduguri, the police boss said the state police spokesperson may have reached a conclusion too quickly in his assessment, hence the need to establish a team to make holistic assessment from the various narratives to ascertain the true picture and prevent a reoccurrence.
Usman said: “The issue of violence in our politics; it takes two to tango; there are laid down procedures to do rallies and campaigns.
“On our part, we have gone out to appeal to politicians to play the game by the rules; and at the same time, allow us to regulate political campaigns, processions and rallies to avoid clashes and so forth.
“The three things which Civil Society Organisations have spoken about—involvement of security outfits; I think I have even made announcements and pronouncements even before their letter.
“On the day the peace accord was signed by the political parties, I reiterated and observed that we have not less than 64 security outfits that were created by state governors in different names for different purposes.’’
Usman said the scope of crime prevention was wide; hence everybody was being encouraged to join in community policing.
The police boss acknowledged that some aspects of police duties have been commercialized to generate more revenue through the Police Specialized Automated Services (POSSAB) portal but the service has been abused.
He, however, threw out the idea that unscrupulous persons can use the portal to gain protection from the police.
The IGP said he was against the withdrawal of security personnel being attached to VIPs, saying some of them might be exposed to dangers
“On the issue of security personnel being attached to VIPs to be withdrawn. For every rule there are exemptions, these people need to be protected but we try to do it with all sense of humility. VIPs need to be protected because some people are really, if left unattended to can be easy target and we will make too much noise.
“So we’re not withdrawing personnel, or I am not of the view of completely withdrawing security aides from VIPs. But that we will manage what we have and also checkmate crime and criminality without actually leaving them bare.”
On security situation in Abuja, the IGP said the Federal Government did not dismiss the alarm raised by the US government asking their citizens to leave the country.
“Nobody has dismissed it as just an alarm. Government has never dismissed it as alarm but we only said it was blown or made in such a way that our people became apprehensive to the situation or to the way it was done.
“The embassies have their own responsibilities to their citizens and they can make their advice and the government has not dismissed what has happened because they have also informed us of what they foresee as threats.
“And we on our parts have also looked at what they put as threat as something that has been with us and efforts are being made daily to see that those threats are mitigated or prevented from happening and that is what has been happening in Abuja and all over the country.
“Sometimes, these threats or things happen but nobody has dismissed it as mere alarm and a lot of efforts have been made, like you said to douse tension.
“Yes, actually arrest have been made for those, we believe are planning to commit crime in whatever form and we have done that arrest and as at when due, those arrested will be charged to court by any of the services that have them.”
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