642 views | Kenechukwu Ofomah | June 8, 2021
Awka – The Nigeria Police Force says it has enhanced its operations aimed at quelling secessionist activities and disrupting their destabilizing armed campaigns, with a view to restoring constitutional order in the Southeast and South-South Nigeria.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba disclosed this on Monday at his second conference with strategic commanders of the Force, held at the Peacebuilding hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The Police had launched a special operation code-named ‘Operation Restore Peace’ (Operation RP) in Enugu (for the South East Operational Theatre) on Tuesday 18th May, 2021 and in Port Harcourt (for the South-South Operational Theatre on Wednesday 19th May, 2021).
According to the IGP, since the launch of the operation, the Force has recorded huge successes against the secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB.
The successes he reeled out, included-
“The killing of the overall Operational Commander of IPOB/ESN in the South East, popularly known as ‘Ikonso Commander’ and his deputy during separate joint operations with the Army and DSS operatives. Six IPOB/ESN suspects were also neutralized while two (2) others were arrested and several arms and ammunition with assorted charms were recovered during the operation.
“Repelling of IPOB attacks on Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo Dunukofia, Awka, Anambra State and recovery of weapons.
“Foiling of IPOB attack on Adani Police Division in Ozuani LGA of Enugu State.
“Foiling of IPOB/ESN attack at Orlu Area Command/Divisional Headquarters in the course of which nine (9) IPOB/ESN fighters were killed while one (1) was arrested alive. During the operation, five (5) assault weapons, assorted charms and all their five (5) operational vehicles were recovered.
“Foiling of IPOB/ESN attack on Ugbuodo Police Station, Ebonyi State on 22nd May, 2021 and killing of an IPOB/ESN fighter and recovery of firearms.
“Repelling of an IPOB/ESN attack on ‘B’ Division Police Headquarters, Awka in Anambra State on 23rd May, 2021 in the course of which one of the attackers was shot dead, one (1) AK47 rifle, nine (9) pump action rifles and the three operational vehicles of the attackers were recovered with several of them escaping with bullet wounds.
“Utilisation of intelligence leading to the arrest of two dismissed soldiers that were providing military training and tactics to IPOB/ESN fighters. They include Lance Corporals Godswill Igwe and Livinus Owalum Barnabas. They were recruited by IPOB/ESN and have been training the secessionists fighters in their Forest Training camps in Abia and Delta States prior to their arrest and destruction of their camps in a Police-led operation.
“ Arrest of Christian Kalu, and IPOB/ESN commander who confessed to leading operations that involved the killing of eleven (11) Police, Airforce and Customs personnel in Port Harcourt.
“Arrest, based on intelligence, of one Prince Tobechi Ononiwu, a California (USA) based major sponsor of IPOB. He hails from Ehime Mbano LGA Imo State.
“Arrest of forty-four (44) IPOB/ESN suspects with established links to the recent attacks on Police personnel and facilities as well as other security operatives and facilities in the South-East and South-South parts of the country.
“Also recovered in various anti-seperatist operations are one (1) General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); Ten (10) AK-47 rifles; Four (4) Pump Action Rifles; Nine (9) other sophisticated locally fabricated Rifles; Four (4) locally fabricated pistols; Nineteen (19) AK-4 7 Magazines; Five hundred and forty-nine (549) 7.62mm live ammunition; and Ten (10) Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).”
The IGP also revealed that on 29th April, 2021, on the strength of intelligence, the Police in Ebonyi State Command also undertook a major anti-separatists operation in Onueke, Ezza North LGA of the State, which targeted a shrine which was being used as a hideout and operational base of IPOB.
At the end of the exercise, he said, two IPOB/ESN fighters were neutralized, two others were arrested, while several others escaped with bullet wounds, adding that the shrine/camp was also destroyed, while three (3) AK47 rifles, five (5) pump action guns, four (4) locally fabricated pistols, several charms and IPOB logos were recovered.
He also said on the same date, while acting on intelligence, the Police undercover operatives intercepted a bus conveying high-calibre weaponry and ammunition to Umuahia from Abakaliki.
In the course of searching the vehicle, seven hundred and fifty-three (753) GPMG live ammunition; two (2) AK 47 rifles; five (5) pump action guns; and six (6) pistols were recovered. The recovered items were being distributed to fuel the secessionist campaign in the Zone,” Baba said.
Baba also spoke on the killing of IPOB attackers on Sunday 6th June, 2021, in Imo state.
“On Sunday, the Imo State Police Command with the support of the Military and other security agencies successfully repelled an attempt by IPOB/ESN members to attack the Command Headquarters. In the course of the operation, five (5) of the attackers including Joseph Uka Nnachi (aka ‘Dragon’) and his second-in-command both of whom are deadly Commanders of IPOB/ESN who have been responsible for series of recent fatal attacks of security agents in the South east were neutralised, while one (1) was arrested alive. Follow-up operation led to the safe rescue of a police personnel that had been held hostage over the past weeks by the outlawed group. Items recovered during the operation include four (4) AK 47 rifles stolen in the course of recent attacks on police personnel and facilities, six (6) Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), seven (7) AK 47 magazines, over two thousand (2,000) rounds of live ammunition and two operational vehicles of the attackers.
“Aside this, following an intelligence-led operation, a Special Police Operations Team monitored and successfully arrested a 7-man criminal syndicate with expertise in the local fabrication of AK 47 rifles and ammunition. The syndicate whose local fabrication enclave is in Jos, Plateau State where they were arrested, have been locally manufacturing the assault rifles and ammunition which they have been supplying to bandits and other criminal elements operating along Kaduna-Abuja and Funtua-Kankara expressways.. Items recovered from them included eight (8) locally fabricated AK 47 rifle; eleven (11) AK 47 magazines; a Pistol; eight (8) firearms butts and large catche of ammunition,” he revealed.
The Police Boss noted that all the major achievements were evident to the enhanced operational capacity and ability of the Police hierarchy, to motivate their personnel to national service.
He acknowledged that there are challenges that are currently impacting their commitment for optimal operational efficiency and assured that he has been exploring all avenues towards addressing them.
“I am happy to note that Mr. President is fully committed to our vision of restoring the primacy of the Nigeria Police and has initiated a number of presidential actions in this direction. Similarly, the Minister of Police Affairs and the leadership of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund are also supporting us, particularly, in the area of injecting funds to address our logistics, operational, and human capacity development needs,” he said.
The IGP re-emphasized the need to restore discipline across all ranks in your commands, urging the commanders to exercise firm supervisory ability that will not only enhance discipline and professionalism, but also strengthen operational efficiency.
“You must all be on your feet to attend to the conduct and welfare of your personnel on the field. Arm chair police leadership is no longer acceptable. Hence you must undertake constant tours of your Divisions and lecture your personnel and forward reports to that effect to my office,” Baba maintained.
He continued; “Furthermore, I have been receiving reports that some Commissioners of Police are still allowing the mounting of road blocks in their jurisdictions. For the avoidance of doubts, road blocks under any description or guise remain banned across the country and any officer found to be contravening this order will be held liable and dealt with firmly. The society has evolved. As law enforcement operatives, we must align our policing strategies to this societal dynamics, particularly, at this time that our policing functions are being built in the community policing model in which the citizens’ interests are prioritised.”