Officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force have now become endangered species in the hands of hoodlums, Anambra state Commissioner of Police John Abang has said.
He also said the personnel now feared going home as they were closely under the watch of hoodlums who now traced them to their various abodes all in the name of EndSARS protests.
Similarly, the police chief said police formations and officers had become objects of attacks by criminal elements disguising as EndSARS protesters.
Abang stated this Wednesday at the state police headquarters in Awka, while parading 17 suspects in connection with killings and destructions of police formations in the state.
He said the barracks had less space to accommodate them for safety, hence the need for prayers and support with useful information from the public to arrest the situation for common good of all.
“We are going into a lot of challenges. Even as we speak, policemen are endangered species. As I talk to you now, they are following us to our houses to eliminate us. As I talk to you now, many policemen are not going to their homes. We want you to remember us in your prayers, only that we don’t have enough space to accommodate all our officers in our barracks,” he said.
On the level of damage done, Abang said: “The hoodlums set ablaze 11 police stations, burnt over 20 vehicles including patrol and exhibit vehicles and an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). They also vandalised six other police stations and carted away motorcycle kept as exhibits. The police also lost some rifles during the attacks.
“In the course of the heinous acts, the hoodlums murdered four police officers including the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Osumenyi Division, CSP Akpan Joseph, the station officer (SO), ASP Agu Michael, Osumenyi Division and a young PC Udegbunam Sunday Celestine leaving two others injured.
“In their state of callousness, the hoodlums also murdered and beheaded Inspector John Oche attached to the Anti-Cult unit and burnt his body to ashes parading the streets with the deceased policeman’s head. In addition to attacking police formations, other government and private facilities such as the Revenue House, Ocha Brigade Office and private trucks loaded with goods were attacked and valuable properties looted,” he added.
Despite the human and material casualties suffered by the command, the CP said some gallant officers still stood their ground and repelled the attack on various formations, including Area Command Onitsha, Ogidi, Awada, CPS, Inland town and B divisions.
And as a follow-up, the command arrested some suspects in connection with the incidents with several exhibits including one AK47 stolen from Ogbunike Division.
The 17 suspects, who were all men, included Vincent Matthew, 29; Aguonu Chinedu Victor, 24; Ezenagwu Ekene, 32; Chukwuebuka Obianefo, 36; Okonkwo Stanley, 37; Obumneme Omezuluike, 30; Onyiuke Odinaka Izuchukwu, 26; Chukwuweike Enweozo, 30; and Chibuzo Otiaba, 22.
Others were Ebuka Nkwoego, 26; Emmanuel Okafor, 21; Kelechi Onyekwere, 34; Onyeka Egbemadu, 23; Samson Okoli, 23; Ugochukwu Nwagboso, 38; Nwankpa Ejike, 26; and Nwankpa Izuchukwu.
However, some of the suspects, Mr Ugochukwu Nwagboso and Mr Onyeka Egbemadu, alleged they were innocent, while Chukwuebuka Obianefo claimed he was arrested where he was having his bathe.
Ebonyi police killed
In a related development, the Ebonyi police command Thursday said two inspectors attached to the command were killed in the attacks on five police stations in the state.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah, in a statement in Abakaliki said: “The total number of Policemen killed 2 Inspectors, Egu Omini and PC Akpu Paul.”
He named the four injured to include; “ASP, Akili Benson, Inspr Okewu Sunday, Inspr Egun Omini and PC Ali Samson. The total number of Police Divisions/Stations burnt => 5, B” Divisions Kpirikpiri. C” Division Ekumenyi. Central Police Station. (CPS) (A” Division).
Ohaozara Division. A65. Okposi Police Station and the newly built Okposi Divisional Police Headquarters, yet to be commissioned and Ezza North Divisional Headquarters was burnt and totally vandalized.”
Umahi’s promise to youth
Meanwhile, Ebonyi state Governor David Umahi has offered to empower 2,600 youth with N2.6 billion as a way of stemming the tide of security challenges facing the state.
The gesture is fallout of the mayhem repeatedly unleashed on the state by hoodlums suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The governor spoke in Abakaliki while receiving in audience Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Celestine Okoye Wednesday.
A statement issued Thursday from Government House Abakaliki said the state had set aside N2.6billion for 2,600 youth drawn from the 13 local government areas of the state, with each getting one million naira.
Umahi said there was an urgent need for the youth to be economically empowered to steer off every form of violence, hence the reason for a roundtable dialogue to know the youth’s expectations of his administration.
The governor further stated that the empowerment would go a long way in giving the youth sound economic footing “because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
Governor Umahi also appealed for peace and ceasefire, while explaining his readiness to rehabilitate the youth who, according to him, went the wrong way looting, killing and destroying government property.
He urged them to join the onerous task of building the state for greater economic growth, development and prosperity.
“My position as the governor of Ebonyi state is that, whether you are IPOB, militant, criminal or a cultist, I have put down the SME fund, the loan we got from the CBN, to give to you and that is N2.6bn. That will be for 200 people per LGA.
“Again and again, I call on the youth: the good, the bad, the ugly; we have N2.6bn. We want the local government chairmen and the coordinators to help us identify these 200 people. It is not when we ask you to do this that you will go and write your brothers and sisters that are working or on government appointment. We need to take 200 youths off the street.
“So, we believe we can rehabilitate these people, retrain them and then get them something doing. It is an olive branch, which I am offering to them. The good ones and the bad ones can also benefit from it,” the governor said.
65 tractors recovered in Adamawa
And in its continued effort to track the stolen items by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest in the state, the Adamawa state police command Thursday said it recovered additional 30 tractors, 107 bags of fertilisers, 28 hand tractors and 29 cartons of agrochemicals, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Only Wednesday, the command arrested 238 suspects from whom 35 tractors, nine vehicles, more than 600 bags of fertiliser, 50 hand tractors and hoes, and 18 bags of maize were recovered.
With the latest recoveries, some 65 looted tractors have now been recovered in just two days.
Spokesman of the command, Suleiman Nguroje, said the additional recovery was also made possible with the cooperation of other security agencies in the state.
“The Command equally arrested four female and one male suspect, who allegedly looted public, corporate and private warehouses during the protest.
“The Commissioner of Police, Olugbenga Adeyanju, thanks the people of Adamawa, especially those who volunteered information to the police leading to the recovery of the looted items,’’ he stated.
Nguroje implored the people to continue to give such useful information and to report any suspicious persons or hoodlums to the nearest police station. (NAN)