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Bomb blasts : We are equipped for the job, CP Olakpe

*CP Olakpe

By Emma Nnadozie

Chris  Olakpe is the Commissioner of Police in-charge of Anti-bomb Disposal Unit.  In this interview with Crime Alert,  he spoke about his new assignment, series of bomb blasts in the country, the  challenges and sundry issues.
Excerpts:

We learnt that authorities have approved the local training of about 400 officers as anti-bomb technicians. What is the mode for selecting the officers?
It is true that some of my men would soon be trained as anti-bomb technicians. The approval was actually given by the office of the Inspector-General of Police and his management team. The 400 officers were carefully drawn for the special training considering the global challenges being posed by terrorists and sundry incidents.   More importantly, we are not politicians, but we have to do everything humanly possible to continue to keep our country safe. We are aware of the democratic challenges which have made policing more rewarding.These, among several other reasons are largely responsible for the training of our men and officers. Therefore, the training we have in mind would be locally managed with local contents.

We are proposing to make use of some retired officers with track records of achievement; officers who are grounded in bomb disposal related matters.  More importantly, training and retraining programme is always on our priority schedule. It is a way of acquainting my officers and men with the latest information on Explosive Ordinance Devices (EOD) and update them on modern techniques and approach to bomb disposal. Hopefully, come October this year, 20 other Officers and men would be undergoing a Special training on Bomb Detection, Neutralization/ Post Blast Analysis to be sponsored by the police Attaché to the Embassy of France.

What were the immediate challenges when you took over as the man-in-charge of this unit recognizing that basically, you are a Public Relations Officer?
Look, every police officer is a public relations officer. And be that as it may, when the Inspector-General of Police posted me to this place, I knew that I have a job to do. I regarded the posting as a challenge. Foremost, I had to prioritize my schedule, by not seeing myself as a boss but as a leader.

I had to evaluate the facilities on ground and weighed them against the personnel on ground; made consultations with the relevant authorities. Today, we have good equipment to carry out our assignments. We have the right tools to do the job. We   have good personnel and a lot of improvements have been recorded in terms of manpower development. We had to determine if we have enough funds to perform the tasks ahead.

* CP Olakpe with his Unit Commanders

The result is the slight improvement on the current allocation for the maintenance of EOD equipment throughout the federation. Undoubtedly, this unit of the police has done tremendously well in the recent past. With the support of God almighty, we have been able to establish police Explosives Community Relations Committee; we have established EOD Bases at the seaports to screen imported cargo with a view to intercepting arms, explosives and Radio-active materials illegally imported.

We made recovery, rendering safe and evacuation of an Improvised Explosive Device [IED] planted at the Edo State House of Assembly by the EOD Unit, Benin. The last but not the least, was the recovery, evacuation and disposal by demolition of several un-exploded military bombs [UXOS] in Enugu, Imo and Anambra states by the Enugu and Owerri Units.

Again the excellent record is partly due to the continuous co-operation of and active involvement, coupled with collaboration with other security agencies. I just want that type of synergy to continue. Our unit made provision of specialized EOD security coverage of important events attracting the attendance of Very Important Personalities [VIP] such as the visit of US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilary Clinton, ECOWAS Heads of state among several others. Therefore, the need to train and retrain our officers and men is never in isolation realizing the fact that terrorists the world over, are known to keep changing their tactics and we cannot afford to be caught napping.  Lest I forget, I have continually told my officers the need to make the newly acquired EOD equipment our best companions by efficiently and effectively deploying them whenever necessary especially at the Airports, seaports and other entry ports.

What have you been doing to enlighten the general public about the activities of this unit of the police?
We have mapped out various strategies aimed at enlightening the general public with the view to sensitizing them on the need to always keep us informed whenever they see any strange thing that could turn out to be bomb. The general public should see us as stakeholders in the management of crime. We have, as a start embarked on Explosives sensitization programme at the Airports, seaports and the oil and gas communities to educate them on the current trends in terrorism and the measures to counter them.

HOT LINES FOR BOMB DISPOSAL UNITS IN NIGERIA
CP                                                   08089441430
PA TO CP                                     08126373641- 08033163829
EOD FHQ Abuja                        08126373643
EOC UNIT FCT                           08126373644
EOD UNIT Kano                       08126373645
EOD UNIT Kaduna                  08126373646
EOD UNIT Calabar                  08126373648
EOD UNIT Ilorin                     08126373653
EOD UNIT Yola                       08126373654
EOD UNIT Benin                    08126373637
EOD UNIT Maiduguri          08126373660


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