Two months into his resumption of duty as commissioner of police in Nasarawa state, Mr Bola E.Longe’s dexterity for having the state free from robbery, kidnapping and related crime is yielding the desired result. Already through strategic and community based policing,17 suspected kidnappers, robbers have been apprehended alongside the recovery of fire arms. Francis Nansak writes.
With the account of arrest you’ve made so far, what is your Command doing to flushed out the alarming rate of kidnapping and robbery, in recent on the highways from Keffi to Akwanga road?
When we noticed that there is increased in kidnapping along Keffi,Garaku,Gudi and Akwanga roads, together with the operational personnel of the state command, we moved to that road and have identified 6 areas where those criminal elements come into the road to harass the road users and in the process kidnapped some of them.
As I am speaking to you, we quickly constructed a template and we put comprehensively, our police personnels in the six places on the road, which was about nine days ago and since we did that no single report of kidnapping has been reported again.
Therefore, I will disagree with you that there is ongoing kidnapping on a daily bases. So for the past 9 days, no kidnapping has taken place on Keffi down to Akwanga road.
Has any arrest been made in respect to kidnapping from those roads?
To be frank with you, we are yet to make any arrest of the kidnappers on that road in particular. But with the template we have put in place, if any of the kidnappers venture into that road and with the way things are constituted now, we will get them arrested and they will be decisively dealt with as provided by the law.
Let me draw your attention from Akwanga axis to Nasarawa and Toto areas where in the past one month criminals have constituted nuisance along those places. What is command doing in that axis?
Frankly speaking we do not have in our record such an unfortunate information, what you have postulated now is half truth. However on January 8 this year, that was six days from my assumption of office in Nasarawa state as the police commissioner, I heard that, that axis was noted for kidnapping and robbery and I immediately mobilised operational personnel of the command including the deputy commissioner in charge of operations and other relevant top officers of the command and we went to that area where kidnapping, robbery and other crimes are known to have been taken place-Nasarawa, Gadabuke, Toto and up to Abaji roads and we identified 5 spots and effectively deployed our officers on those roads in combination and the collaboration of hunters and vigilante.
Based on our records no single robbery or kidnapping was recorded on Nasarawa,Gadabuke and Abaji road again. The overseer of Gadabuke development area has even paid us a thank you visit, as according to him, traders in farm produce along that road who had earlier fled for the increased rate of harassment from the criminal before my commissionership in the state have started returning back to sale their produced to commuters who plight that road. Infact, if you go to those areas now, you will discover that the volume of traffic has significantly increased on those roads due to the proactive security measures we put in place.
Lets move away from concentrating your strength on the roads. In terms of community policing what are your strategies in fighting crime within the communities?
I have said it before and I will repeat, that modern days policing is community based, so without the member of the community, I mean patriotic members of our community, in Nasarawa state police command, we have about 4,552 police personnel and for a big state like we have, without the involvement of good spirited members of the community, it would be difficult for us as police men to have an onslaught against criminal elements and because of this we have been meeting with market men and women, the hunters, tipper drivers, the vigilante personnel and as well as meetings with members of the Police Community Relation Committee and not leaving behind the traditional and religion leaders, even to those that care and have their ears to the ground. With lots of encouragements that they avail information on criminal appearances to the security and by this effective cooperation from the community, we would be able to discover the antics of the criminals, as crime is not committed in isolation.
Criminals use some weak members of any community to plan their operation and go to isolated place to execute them.
Therefore, members of the public are easier to be used for intelligence gathering, as they may be in picture of those criminals activities around them, that was why in my earlier speech, I said we need partnership of the public to be able to dislodged and disconnect the network of criminal elements from the state which we have gradually been able to dismantled.
I will want you to know that on 18 of January, together with my operational team,we went to Nasarawa,Mararaba Udege and Loko axis only to discovered that the area has a lot of undulating hills, with some scaring, which these criminals finds very good to hide and later come out to kidnap people,but upon our discovery,we have our template on ground there which is yielding positive result as some of the kidnappers had been arrested.
And in Lafiya,Ashege along Shendam road,we have its own template there too,which in a very short while we shall be moving to areas as Awe,Obi and Keana for the same purposed of ensuring criminals free those communities. Mind you we cannot at the same time put out all our strategy,because the criminals who are bent on outweighing us are studying our plans, because we have come to the discovery that the criminals are professionally enclined,just as the police and other security agencies are professionally trained. So in Nasarawa state,there will be peace,there will be development.
With regards to recovering of arms in the possession of some individuals which your predecessor started, do you have any plans in that respect?
This is where I had said in collaboration with the members of the community a lot can be achieved. However, we have our intelligence unit which have been working on information gathering with intense commitment towards achieving these goals. But it also required availability of such information and the only way is through the members of a community to open up on who is possession of what arm and using it for what purpose.
Nevertheless the command if you would recalled,has not been having report of skimishes of violence and clashes from herdsmen and farmers, since I took over office two months now. But I will used this opportunity to appeal to those who are illegally in possession of fire arms to surrender them to the security agencies willingly for the avoidance of what may follow if discovered by the police as it consequences might be severe no matter how highly placed is such an individual.
Like I kept saying, let make Nasarawa attract investors and not a hub for criminals, as I believe Nasarawa state deserved peace and development to compliment the efforts of the governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who has been very concern about the peace and development of his people and the state in general.