The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, has said that four units of Mobile Police (about 600 personnel) from the Force Headquarters have been deployed to tackle the communal crisis in Benue State. Abubakar announced this on Monday in Abuja, while fielding questions from newsmen shortly before he went into a closed door meeting with Assistant Inspectors-General of Police. The AIGs are in charge of the 12 police Zonal Commands across the country.
He said the meeting would review the security situation in states under the zones and adopt strategy for addressing them. “As I am talking to you today (Monday), I have four units of Mobile Policemen right from the headquarters inside the bush in Benue State. They are being led by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (operations) and Commissioner of Police (Mobile Force), they are protecting those innocent people,’’ he said.
The IG listed Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and part of Zamfara states as some of the states in the North where there are communal clashes, mostly between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.
Abubakar identified difficult terrain, delay in getting information due to network problem and lack of police presence in those areas as some of the challenges in tackling the clashes.
“These attacks take place inside the bush, most of the people attacked are in the villages and sometimes, some of the difficulties we encounter are the terrain of the places. Secondly, information comes to the police very late because of network situation, remember, most of these places, if you check, no existence of police station or posts. So, the Commissioner of Police in respective commands has to grapple how to take policemen to such place and how they will remain permanently,’’ he said.
Abubakar also noted that years back, there were grazing areas and route for the herdsmen, adding “today, the story is different, no grazing places, no routes, so this part of the problem.’’
On the situation in the North-East, he said it was getting better following the continued efforts of the police and security agencies.
“The issue of terrorism in the North East, I am glad to say that we are making serious effort; the situation is getting much better than ever before as can be noticed,’’ he said.
On whether the police has failed in the fight against terrorism, Abubakar said the force has not, but admitted that the military has taken the lead in the campaign.
“You need to understand the difference between the declaration of war and issue of internal security in Borno State, because the President has declared war. And when it comes to the issue of war, the military is in the lead, it is not because of the failure of the police, once there is war, the military takes lead. In Borno State, we work jointly with the military, where the military finishes its job, the police occupy the place and provide security and allow constituted authorities to exist,’’ he said.
The IG also said that armed robbery and kidnapping has witnessed significant drop across the country but added the force would not relent in providing safety. “You will agree with me that the issue of armed robbery and kidnapping have dropped significantly all over the country but we are not taking any chances,’’ he said.