….Lame denies comments on police capability
By kingsley omonobi
The federal government Tuesday said it was worried by the bomb explosions that rocked Warri, Delta state, during the beginning of the Post Amnesty Dialogue organized by Vanguard Media on Monday pointing out that the Inspector General of Police has been given marching orders to personally investigate the blasts.
The disclosure came just as the minister of Police Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, who famously said on 4th March this year, that â€˜the current security situation in the country to say the least is condemnable and unacceptable to the government and that these are testimony to the sheer incapacity of the Police to perform, yesterday made a volt-face denying ever making such a statement, even accusing journalists of not understanding English.
Speaking during the launching of 134 new Hilux Patrol Vans purchased for the police under the 7-Cities project to provide special security to high crime states at Police headquarters, Abuja, the minister said, â€œThe bomb blast is something that was shocking to government. It is being investigated. The IGP is on top of the situation. Government is very worried that it happened. The IG has told me that a lot of things were put in place and certain actions taking which ensured that the damage and casualty was greatly minimizedâ€.
â€œThe Police ensured that some areas were not allowed accessibility to people except the governors and ministers and top functionaries, and parking of vehicles was done in such away that the impact of the explosion did not cause more harm than it did but the police will investigate and get at the root of the explosionâ€.
Reminded that the bomb blast is a signal that terrorist acts can now be carried out in the country, the minister disagreed saying, â€œYes we are worried but take it from me; we donâ€™t have terrorism in Nigeria. We only have kidnappers and kidnapping is a community issue. I am therefore appealing to our communities to assist the police with information so that together, we can wipe away these crimesâ€.
On his speech on March 4th, where said, â€œRegrettably, the Nigeria Police force has not reciprocated the gesture of government by way of commitment to duty and responsibility to its calling, and that the current rate of crime across the nation, rising cases of extra-judicial killings, human rights violations, high profile assassinations are due to the deliberate failure and willful defiance of the Police high Commandâ€, he denied vehemently.
According to him, â€œI never said the Nigeria Police was not performing. Like the IG has said, there is no society that is crime free. I want to assure you that there is not fight between me and the IG. The IG of Police cannot afford to fight with me and I cannot afford to fight with the IG of police. Both of us are concerned about the security of lives and property in the nationâ€.
Earlier, the IG, Ogbonna Onovo commended the federal government for the provision of the patrol vehicles saying it will enhance the logistic requirements of the force to fight crime.
â€œAs is well known, it is trite that to be able to fight crime and other forms of violence in a delicate society as ours, the Police have to have communication facilities, mobility and proper provision of arms and kits. These are the tripods under policing standsâ€.
â€œThough this will enhance security in the 7-cities project which includes Lagos and Abuja, I want to say that more still needs to be done. We need to have more armoured personnel carriers, more helicopters and more marine boats that will help us meet up with our peopleâ€™s expectation of rising up to the challenges of fighting crime in all ramificationsâ€.