By Augustine Ehikioya
With the deployment of new technology devices in the first one year tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), IGP Usman Alkali Baba, the security of Borno State has greatly improved.
Residents in the State, especially the metropolitan city of Maiduguri can now sleep with their two eyes closed.
These were the views of the Borno State Commissioner of Police (CP), CP Abdu Umar, during exclusive interview with Security Watch Africa (SWA) in his office in Maiduguri.
Some Borno residents, who also spoke with Security Watch Africa in the State, commended the efforts of the IGP and the CP towards sustaining peace in the State.
Speaking on the new machines and devices received from the IGP, the Commissioner of Police said “The vision and the mission of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, he came with a new dimension. Of recent, he assembled all Commissioners of Police, AIGs and DIGs in Akwa Ibom State and he revealed his mission and vision. And there is now introduction of technology into policing activities.
“That is why when somebody now commits offence, within a short time frame, using the electronic media, we will be able to have a better forensic investigation, which is yielding results.
“If you go to our CIDs, you will see somebody who goes to commit a crime of possibly homicide or armed robbery. When we get to the scene of the crime, with the new technology we are having, we achieve our result and the ultimate is for us to unravel perpetrators or the culprit who committed the offence,” he added.
Asked to speak on the level of security in the State, he said “I thank you for coming to Borrno State Police Command just to know and find out from me the position of security in Borno State. Actually, it is good to come around and see things by yourself.
“When we came in, it wasn’t like this. We had a lot of security challenges. But our coming and the trend of events, security has tremendously improved. That is why we are here today, so peaceful. We can spend a month or two without having any violent attack within the metropolitan city of Maiduguri, Borno State.”
He however disclosed that the State is still battling with some pockets of security challenges.
The CP said “However, we have pockets of challenges in the extreme. This happens to be the antecedent of Boko Haram, where we have those pockets of elements marauding in the bush, using motorcycles to go and attack remote areas.
“You know with the security efforts, we are able to decimate the number of the Boko Haram elements and infact they are not too significant for now. And that made us to have a peaceful environment unlike before, and improved security situation in Borno State.”
He went on “Maiduguri is no more a war zone. It is far far better than some cities in the country. I can tell Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm. Maiduguri is part of Nigeria.”
To those showcasing Nigeria in bad light because of insurgency, the CP urged them to be more constructive in their criticism.
He said “And we should please have a positive mind, we should be thinking Nigeria rather than thinking sectoral or zones.
“We are Nigerians in the first instance and all we need to do is, even though we can castigate, let it be a constructive criticism, ” he stated.
On collaboration with the communities, he said “This is an exceptional place. The people in Borno are seriously collaborating with the Nigeria Police. I have just told you that the level of crimes have reduced and that is telling you that the communities are seriously supporting us, they are giving us credible information.
“We act on them and we are fighting crimes seriously. It is yielding much result. In fact, Borno State is a very peaceful place now.”
Speaking on other achievements recorded under the IGP in the past one year, he said “The Police is now very happy, very soon they are going to effect increase in our salaries, which is so key to our performance. Since, the IGP came, he has been fighting for increase in salary.
“It is coming to light very soon because there are signals that our salaries have been increased. We are hearing 20% is recommended for increase of our salary. And the Health insurance is there. We are now acquiring houses on our own.
“Even the IGP’s welfare package for deceased Police officers is there and those that got injured, the IGP is dishing out cheques to all these people. So the lGP is a motivational IGP to be sincere. We are going to emulate him.”
Asked to shed light on other supports his Command will need to move forward, the CP said “Well, the support is to enhance what he has just started within the past one year. Policing, we don’t need to continue going conventional, we need to go with the revolution.
“It will make policing very easy. If we have cameras installed everywhere, we don’t need to buy plenty vehicles. You don’t need to deploy plenty Policemen. Satellite or cameras will work when you have your control room.
“Whenever there is something, you see it from your control room and you direct your team to move to that place. So, so person in yellow, pick him, he has picked somebody’s pocket. Very easy. So, technology is key and this is the new approach the IGP made during our retreat in Akwa Ibom State.”
To fight crimes in the country, he solicited for the new surveillance devices to be installed in every parts of Nigeria.
“My request is that we have these installations far and wide the country, the policing will be scientific and technologically driven,” he said.
Asked to assess the leadership style of the IGP as he clocks one year in office, he said “He is an influential person, he inspired me. It was his own choice that I should come to Borno State and become the CP. He has his own assessment. Since I came, I believe the communities will tell you what I’m doing. I can’t assess myself. But all along, we have been achieving results.
“How I got it right is through the influence of the IGP, he lectures me, he supports me with a lot of logistics. Just day before yesterday, I received a consignment of kits and accoutrements, I received arms and ammunition in addition to what I already have.
“It was during my tenure that the IGP provided us with five giant APCs and with the support of those giant APCs, we are making mark. Equally the EOD, that if you go for these clearance operations where the IDPs are going back to their original settlements because there is relative peace. Even repentant Boko Haram, we escort them back to their various communities, those that have been screened and deradicalized, they are going back to their domains.
“The EODs are making impacts by sweeping those areas. You know, a place where they said there was war, mostly there used to be placement of IEDs here and there. We are sweeping the areas and people are living there very peacefully, they have gone back to their farmlands, they are farming seriously.
On the outstanding qualities of the IGP, he said “This is an IGP that is so open, free-minded. He will tell you what he is doing. It’s a kind of motivational approach as a leader. He is not a leader that will be silent on his activities.
“Take for example, I just told you about the issue of accoutrements, arms and ammunition, vehicles. Look at the barracks very close to me. This is something that we have been calling, calling. Our barracks are just like refuse dumps etc. But look through my windows, you will see how he is transforming the barracks, go to the Police College here in Maiduguri, it is being transformed again.
“So, this is a person that you need to emulate. I wish him very well. I wish him goodluck in all his undertaken. And we continue to pray, but we cannot continue praying without making inputs, that is why you see that you can come to Maiduguri through all the routes. Before, it wasn’t like this, you only have one route, which is Damaturu – Maiduguri road.
“Our saviour, we have the military, but Rapid Response teams are always on that highway. But now, it is so open that most of the routes coming to Maiduguri are now open that you can travel freely,” he stated.
A Borno resident and businessman, Alhaji Adamu Ali Mai Buhu, thanked the IGP and the CP for the improved security situation in the state.
He said that Boko Haram is no longer in existence in the State.
According to him, only few miscreants are now parading themselves as Boko Haram members.
He said “I want the IGP and the CP to deal with them when they are caught.
Also giving kudos to the State governor, he said “I know that the State Governor is working hand in hand with the Police to ensure security and peace in the State.”
Another resident, Comrade Lucy Yunana, said “We have a fantastic security in Borno State. We have a dynamic Police Commissioner. He is a replica of the IGP that we have in Borno State.
“When you see the Police Commissioner, you will know that the IGP is really doing a great work in Borno state,” she stated.