By Augustine Ehikioya
With lowering criminal incidents in Bayelsa State, the State’s Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Okolo, has declared that the administration of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has been a blessing to the State.
Just like in other State Commands, he said that IGP Baba’s administration has brought more operational assets and logistics to support the Bayelsa State Command.
He spoke with Security Watch Africa (SWA) team in his office in Yenagoa, the State capital.
CP Okolo said “The present IGP is very proactive, very supportive and a professional to the core. He has ensured that the Commands, under him, play or operate in line with the rules.
“And what I see is that once you play in line with the rules, you will not encroach on people’s rights or fundamental rights. Discipline, he has improved a lot of things about our discipline because that is the core area of operations.
“If you are not disciplined, you cannot function. So he has enhanced our disciplinary procedures to a large extent. Then to crown it all, he has brought in a lot of operational assets to support us like APCs, light marine assets, body armours, arms, ammunition and a lot of logistics.
“I will say that his tenure actually has been very fruitful and successful one,” he stated.
As a result of the IGP”s support, the State government support and collaboration among the security agencies in the State, he said, that crimes that used to trouble the State have been brought under control.
He said “The State is relatively safe and safer than most places in Nigeria. And it’s not unconnected to the efforts of the Police, the Nigerian military and other security agencies , there has been so much cooperation, collaboration and synergy which we have achieved.
“And more so, this is crowned with the support of the State government, through the Security Council of the State. They have been very very supportive.”
Speaking on cultism, he said “It is under control and it is not the way it used to be in the past. A lot of them have been arrested and we are doing a lot of proactive action, using intelligence to ensure that those who will make trouble are nipped in the bud and investigated if they are connected.
“Several of them have been charged to court and we have been monitoring the activities of other gangs or cult known members.
So to a large extent, it has not been eradicated, we are working on that, not through only kinetic efforts, we are using other non-kinetic efforts like advocacy, talking to people through groups, to ensure that the State remain safe.
“To a large extent, I will say cultism has been brought under reasonable control at the moment,” he said.
According to him, robbery on the waters in the State have also been brought under control.
He said “That too is under control for several reasons. We have some marine assets which are domiciled with Marine Police and the Military has couples of gunboats, the Civil Defence and majorly the Navy has a lot of assets. These assets have been deployed.
“And to support these assets, the State government has done some policies, like putting curfew from certain period of time to some period of time, and usage of 200 horsepower has been barred.
“So to a large extent, with all these efforts and what the security agencies are doing, that has been brought under control equally.”
He also maintained that much has been achieved in the efforts to recover arms in the wrong hands.
“It has been successful to the extent that several arms have been recovered by the command, several have been recovered by operation Delta Safe, which the headquarters is here. There are still some arms out there. But to a large extent, I will say the exercise has been useful and successful and we will continue.
On his achievements, he said “When I came, kidnapping was the crime that has been disturbing the command. A couple of very important personalities were been targeted, particularly Bankers and some successful traders.
“So we went to work and it yielded result in the arrest of a particular gang that specializes in kidnapping Bank managers, successful business men. And at the moment, they are in prison, they are in the correctional centre, facing trial.”