By Frank Oshanugor
The incident in Warri, Delta State last Sunday 4th of July, 2021 during which a police man attached to an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Michael Johnny in the area was brutally murdered by assassins who obviously were on the trail of his boss has once again reminded us the levity with which policy issues are often treated in Nigeria.
It is on record that one of the decisions taken by the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba Alkali when he assumed office few months ago was the declaration that no police man would be attached to politicians or private individuals as doing so depletes the number of available police personnel meant to fight criminality. It was however, not as if that was the first time, any IGP would make such declaration but one had assumed that given the audacious posturing of Alkali as a new sheriff in town, there would be a paradigm shift from the old order. Regrettably, nothing has changed.
It makes mockery of our public institutions and holders of offices whose legitimate orders are always taken for granted due to inability to enforce such orders. One is dismayed that the same police who outlawed the use of police personnel for personal protection would at the same time, breach the orders by approving the deployment to private assignment as in the case of police man who reportedly met his untimely death in the hands of people he personally had not offended but possibly by the man he was assigned to work with, by his superior officers.
The police man and the politician’s driver were said to have taken the APC man’s wife to church and moved on for another errand soon after dropping her at the church. Little did the police man and driver know that agents of death were on their trail. The killers from all appearances must have believed that the politician was in the car as far as the police guard was seen in the car, hence they opened fire on the vehicle and its occupants. Incidentally, Chief Michael Johnny was not in the car.
With the availability of private security companies in Nigeria and increase in the number of their personnel, the intention of the IGP among other things was for the private security guards to be more engaged in VIP protection particularly within the political class. This intention like in former times has obviously been downplayed and would continue to be disobeyed because of the inaction of the IGP and his team.
The question one would ask in the circumstance, is why would the police boss not have the temerity to walk his talk? The Warri incident is just one in the records of similar loss of life by police personnel on private guard assignment, which in the long run leaves members of the bereaved family in deplorable conditions as neither the police authorities nor the so called VIP bear the responsibility of providing for the needs of dependants of the dead police man.
Time has come for the police authorities to strictly play by the rules by not extending such privileges to persons not statutorily qualified to move with armed police escort at the expense of the state.