By Augustine Ehikioya
Carrying out independent investigations, Security Watch Africa (SWA) has uncovered that some Police Men and Officers have been abandoned after their gallant services to the nation.
While some of the Officers have retired from active service and are living in penury, others are still in service and not rewarded in anyway for their commitment to the fight against insurgency and other crimes in the country.
Worse still, some of the Police Men and Officers have paid the supreme price by loosing their lives in the North East and other parts of the country, without commensurate compensation paid to their surviving relatives.
While some of them who were injured in active service have been abandoned to their fate, others who lost love ones and relatives to the war against insurgency among other crimes are without any compensation.
A reliable source in Yobe State, who spoke on a condition of anonymity with Security Watch Africa, recalled a particular Police Officer who served actively as Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in more than five divisions in the State.
According to him, none of the divisions recorded any Boko Haram attacks while he was the DPO as he always had a perfect strategy in place to repel their attacks. .
But the moment he was posted out of any of the divisions, Boko Haram attacks started to take place in those places.
The Police Officer, the source said, became a target of the insurgents as his strategy was making the insurgents to have their members killed.
While the insurgents failed to kill him, the source however revealed that they succeeded in killing his wife.
Since there was so much threat against his life, the source said, the Police Officer was posted out of the State in the year 2014.
For over nine years now, the source revealed sadly that no compensation has been paid to the Police Officer considering that his wife was killed by Boko Haram members while he was in active service in the State.
He pointed out that the government did not also compensate or take care of the three children left behind by the deceased wife of the Police Officer.
He said “Boko Haram members were looking for him to kill him because they complained that anywhere he was posted as DPO, he always repel their attacks and in the process they lost many of their members.”
Speaking on how the Police Officer’s wife was killed, another source, who spoke in confidence with Security Watch Africa in Yobe State, said “When he applied to go and see his sick mother, the next day that he left, these people identified his house and his wife was with her sister and another lady in the room.
“And as the Boko Haram people opened his room, they opened fire and killed his wife. They entered and asked where is the DPO. His wife’s sister told them, DPO is not around. And they told them to leave the room or they will also be killed.
“So the people that were with his wife left the house. They then used rocket launcher to fire on the roof of the house and the house was burnt to ashes. The wife was burnt beyond recognition,” he said.
Throwing light on the Police Officer’s exploit in Yobe State as DPO at Damaturu Division, Geidam Division, Damagun Division, Potiskum Division, Gujuba Division and as Officer in the Area Command in Gashua, another source said “He protected the vulnerable in Yobe State, to the extent that Boko Haram never succeeded in entering any of the Divisions he held until he is posted out.”
The source said many people then were accusing him of using juju for his gallantry in repelling the Boko Haram attacks.
He added “But anytime you ask him about the accusation, he will say he was not using any juju and that his strategy was just being alert and leading his subordinates well.
“He said he always put his subordinates on the alert by two shifts 24/7 as he had noticed from experience that the Boko Haram people don’t normally attack any place unless they see some lapses during their surveillance in the area.”
The source went on “One of his strategies then was that he also used to disguise himself by wearing different dresses. He also normally ride bicycle to enter so many places that people won’t know that he was the DPO of the area. All was just to get information by himself.”
Another source in Kaduna State also revealed how a Mobile Police Officer, DSP Musa Muhammed Adamu, who was shot while on active service by bandits at Galadimawa Forest Kaduna State in October 2021 and still battling life-threatening illness, was abandoned to his fate.
With the case worsening after about nine surgeries, the source said Musa, who was on special Joint Military/Security Operation of Puff Adder in Kaduna where he was shot, had to complain of abandonment in 2022.
The Police Service Commission (PSC), in a statement in September, 2023 however promised to intervene in Musa’s case.
Promising that the Commission will not abandon Musa, the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Solomon Arase said “PSC has this position that such Officers are deserving of national award. They should be celebrated and we will make the recommendation.”
Another case of abandonment was contained in a petition to the Senate by Corporal Ayodele Godwin, who claimed that he was abandoned by the Police Authority due to the injury he sustained at his duty post in Edo State.
According to him, he sustained the injury when he was drafted to a volatile area at Okuo Village to combat Fulani kidnappers who on daily basis terrorize innocent citizens on the road.
While on that duty, he sustained the injury when a black Toyota Corolla with Registration No. ABC 650 AB skidded off the road and ran into him, and his right leg from the knee to the ankle was severely damaged.
In other to address similar cases like these, the Nigeria Police Force in August 2023 disbursed N27,879,659.56 cheques to families of 35 personnel who died or were wounded in the line of duty in Abia State.
The cheques, which were given out by the Commissioner of Police, Abia State, CP Kenechukwu Onwuemelie, to the affected families on behalf of the Acting Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, expressed deep concern over their plight.
According to him, the Police had the moral duty to support and stand behind the families of their fallen heroes and heroines.
The financial support, he said, was meant to help mitigate their challenges especially the financial burden that might come with the loss of their beloved ones.
He reiterated the commitment of the Police to the welfare of their personnel, assuring that the Command would never abandon the affected families.
While this intervention by the Nigeria Police Force and other compensations paid is a step in the right direction, it is however like a drop in an ocean.
The Nigeria Police Force should put in place a workable system that will stand the test of time to not only tackle the cases of injured abandoned Officers in the country, but compensate all relatives of deceased Officers who have put their lives on the line for Nigeria and Officers’ who lost their spouses to insurgency and other crimes in their duty posts.
These will no doubt go a long way to boost the morales of serving officers, who may feel demoralized by the treatment being meted out to their colleagues who were gallantly serving the nation before their predicament.