By Anayo Okoli
Umuahiaâ€”THE As-sistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, in charge of Zone 9, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, has exonerated the Police of any blame for the setback suffered by the amnesty programme declared by Abia State Government for kidnappers and other criminals in the state.
Rather, Ringim justified the attack on the alleged repentant kidnappers, saying that security operatives struck when the criminals refused to embrace the amnesty programme.
Ringim said the criminals failed to grab the opportunity provided them by the amnesty programme.
The amnesty programme suffered a major setback when a combined team of army and police patrol allegedly shot and killed a repentant kidnapper when they allegedly stormed one of the centres created for the repentant kidnappers and other criminals to surrender their arms and register for rehabilitation at Ugwonagbo Local Government Area of the state.
‘Why we attacked’
Speaking with journalists in Umuahia, the AIG said the attack was launched at the expiration of the amnesty during which no criminal came out to surrender any arm.
â€œIt was not the fault of the police. It was during the period the amnesty had elapsed that the police attacked,â€ Ringim said.
According to him, even with the amnesty in place, the criminals were still carrying out their nefarious activities.
He said there was no way the police would have folded its arms and watch the criminals maim and kill people.
However, Ringim said with the new strategy launched by the Police high command to tackle Abia security crisis, the situation had drastically changed and promised that soon, Abia people would have peace and be free from crime.
The AIG said the deployment of helicopter was authorised by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, in order to assist the police carry out surveillance of areas not accessible to policemen.
Ringim also said the police had been able to destroy many of the criminal hideouts in the state and had made several arrests.
He, however, said that some of the criminals managed to escape before the arrival of the police crack team deployed to rout them.
In his remarks, the Police Commissioner in charge of Mobile Police Force at the force headquarters, Mr. Felix Uyanna, explained that he was in Abia for a â€œspecific operationâ€ with a contingent of 1,000 mobile policemen sent by the IGP to control the wave of criminalities in Abia State.
Uyanna said the scope of the operation would not cover only Abia, but also Imo and Enugu states.
He, however, regretted that poor infrastructure was impeding swift movement of the police in Abia State.
He said Aba, the commercial capital of the state, has poor road network which makes it difficult for the police to access the inner city.
According to Uyanna, a lasting solution to the criminal activities in Abia State â€œrequires everybody coming on boardâ€ because, according to him, 99 percent of Abia people are good and honest and wondered why a small group of criminals should be allowed to hold the entire state to ransom.