BY FESTUS AHON
The Odiologbo of Oleh Kingdom, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM A.W.O Ovrawah Omogha(I) has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to carry out a total overhauling of the Oleh Divisional Police Headquarters, following alleged deterioration of the security situation in the area.
The monarch, in a petition to the IGP, reiterated the need to effect changes from the headship of the division by bringing in officers who are zero-tolerant to crime “as there is no gainsaying the fact that the totality of evidence and attitude of some of the officers on ground at the division are pointers to the fact that they have compromised standard.”
According to the monarch, the people, in a move to arrest insecurity in the town, effected a change in the headship of the Oleh vigilante group on August 2, 2012, following the previous broad day light robbery incident after the members alleged that their leader was incompetent.
“The change in the headship of the vigilante group would have paid off when another armed robbery incident took place in the early hours of Monday, August 6, but for its truncation by the police in Oleh, who deliberately fired shots at members of the Oleh vigilante group and in the process, one Mr. Edafe George, the Secretary to the Oleh vigilante group, narrowly escaped death. He was severely injured from the gunshot injury he sustained from the police onslaught.”
The petition further alleged that “another worrisome dimension to this robbery incident which showed that there is a form of connivance between the police and the robbers is the fact that members of the vigilante group from Irri, a neighbouring community to Oleh, who were coming on a rescue mission during the robbery incident, were sent back by the police at Iyanga Market junction.”
Recalling an earlier robbery incident in the host community to the Delta State University, Oleh Campus, he said a final-year 500 level Engineering student was killed by armed robbers, “an incident that nearly sparked off protest by the students to the police station, but was nipped in the bud with my intervention in conjunction with members of my cabinet and the Provost of the institution. Their grouse was that the police were called when the robbery incident which lasted for two hours was on, but they never showed up.
“And, members of our vigilante group who were on patrol, according to the information from them, were barred from getting to the robbery scene to confront the armed robbers.
These are the scenarios which played out during similar robbery incidents and occurrences in Ichofu Street, IDC Road, Odoro Road, among other streets in Oleh. Our major grouse is that distressed calls made to the police at Oleh Division were not always attended to as they always surfaced after the robbers had concluded their onslaught on my people.”
The monarch, who accused the police of systematically disarming members of the vigilante team of the dane guns they were using in their operations, noted “my IGP, I do not agree less with you in your comment recently in a newspaper that: ‘Policemen do fraternise with criminals.’
“I am in tandem with your directive that no policeman should spend more than two years in a duty post so as not to give room for unnecessary, undue and unholy familiarity alliance between them and criminals. For instance, in Oleh Division, we have officers who have stayed more than 10 years in the division.”
I n a reaction to the allegations against the division, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Mr. Chris Sogbara, dismissed the points raised by the monarch, saying that they were not true. Explaining the circumstances that led to the petition, the DPO said: “We received a distressed call from one Henry on Monday, August 6, 2012, informing of a robbery incident.
“I immediately put a call to my patrol team and they swung into action. On reaching the scene of crime, my men saw a young man in a nearby bush with a gun and they fired at him. The incident was recorded in our crime diary, the man that was shot and the informant made statements.”
Lamenting the spate of criminality in the area, the police boss stated that the height of insecurity has forced banks to shut down because of fear of attacks.