We’re battle ready to crush IPOB, ESN, others –IGP

…bans tainted glass, road blocks, SPY number plate

By Hassan Zaggi

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, has revealed that the Force has enhanced its capacity to repel attacks by the secessionists movements  including Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) and other criminal elements in the South South and South Eastern part of the country.

The Force, he said, is fully prepared to undertake what he described as proactive operations aimed at disrupting their destabilizing armed campaigns and with a view to restoring constitutional order

The IGP stated this at a meeting with top police officers including Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs), Assistant Inspectors General (AIG) and Command Commissioners of Police (CPs), in Abuja, Monday.

“In relation to our anti-separatist operations in the South East and parts of South South, with the launch of the special operation code named ‘Operation Restore Peace’ (Operation RP) in Enugu (for the South East Operational Theatre) on Tuesday  May 18, 2021 and in Port Harcourt (for the South South Operational Theatre on Wednesday  May 19, 2021), we have enhanced our capacity to repel attacks by the secessionists as well as to undertake proactive operations aimed at disrupting their destabilizing armed campaigns and with a view to restoring constitutional order,” the IGP said.

While explaining the successes so far recorded, IGP Baba said: “The killing of the overall Operational Commander of IPOB/ESN in the South East, popularly known as ‘Ikonson Commander’ and his deputy during separate joint operations with the Army and DSS operatives.

“Six IPOB/ESN suspects were also neutralized while  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 and foiling of IPOB/ESN attack at Orlu Area Command/Divisional Headquarters in the course of which 9 IPOB/ESN fighters were killed while one was arrested alive.

“During the operation, 5 assault weapons, assorted charms and all their 5 operational vehicles were recovered.”

Other successes, he said, included the foiling of IPOB/ESN attack on Ugbuodo Police station, Ebonyi state on May 22, 2021 and killing of an IPOB/ESN fighter and recovery of firearms among many others and the recovery in various anti-seperatist operations are one General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); 10 AK-47 rifles; 4 Pump Action Rifles; 9 other sophisticated locally fabricated Rifles; four  locally fabricated pistols; 19 AK-4 7 Magazines; 549  7.62mm live ammunition; and 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

“Just yesterday, June 6, 2021, 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, 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 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  AK 47 rifles stolen in the course of recent attacks on police personnel and facilities, six IEDs, seven AK 47 magazines, over 2,000) rounds of live ammunition and two operational vehicles of the attackers,” he noted.

The IGP, however, applauded the top police officers for motivating their men under them to achieve all these.

Baba also announced the ban on issuance of SPY plate numbers and tainted glass permits in Nigeria.

He also reiterated that road blocks in any guise remained banned, describing it obsolete and an avenue for corrupt tendencies, insisting that any officer caught mounting road block will have him/herself to blame.

He, however, charged the CPs to strengthen security architecture around the police formations in order to prevent them from attacked by criminal elements.

 “Accordingly, henceforth, the issuance of SPY plate numbers and tainted glasses permits are hereby suspended. The existing authorisations are being reviewed and a Protocol to regulate the issuance of such permits will be evolved.

“In due course an enforcement mechanism that will enforce the standardised process of issuance of SPY plate numbers and tainted glasses will be implemented across the country.

“The Nigeria Police will work closely with the leadership of the Federal Road Safety Commission in this regard,” the IGP said.

 He also ordered Command CPs to arrest and deal ruthlessly in accordance with the law, any motorist found covering his/her number plate.  

“An emerging trend in which some motorists cover their plate numbers has also been noticed across the country. This practice inhibits our law enforcement operations and hence, is intolerable.

“Consequently, Commissioners of Police are tasked to as part of their operations, to arrest any motorist involved in this act,” he said.

While reiterating the need for the CPs to review and strengthen security around their command headquarters, the IGP said: “In line with my speech during the launch of ‘Operation Restore Peace’, all Commissioners of Police across the country are to review and strengthen security around all Command Headquarters and other Police Stations in their jurisdictions with a view to deterring or repelling any attempt to attack such facilities.

“Nigeria Police assets are critical national security assets which must be defended against insurrectionists and arsonists as provided for in Section 33, sub section 2 (a-c) of the Nigerian Constitution.”

While expressing concern on the resurgence of the road blocks in parts of the country, the IGP said: “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.”

IGP Baba insisted that: “Road blocks as a policing model is becoming obsolete and unacceptable. Hence, we are working towards enhancing our intelligence-led and technology-driven policing capability as well as strengthening the Safer Highway Motorised Patrol Scheme as an alternative to road blocks.

“Therefore, you are tasked to ensure that deployments within your commands are reviewed and your operations aligned to this new policing approach which discourages the disposition to limiting the liberty of citizens through road blocks which are known to be avenues for corrupt tendencies and other vices that widen the trust gap between the citizens and the Police.

“The X-Squad and Monitoring Unit have been mandated to commence a special operation across the country to enforce this directive.”

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