By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
He arrived the coal city of Enugu at a time kidnapping and other sundry crimes were soaring high. The euphoria that greeted his arrival was somewhat tumultuous going by his reputation as a hardened crime fighter. He lived up to the billing without delay by swinging the crime pendulum to its lowest ebb. His warning to criminals was distinctively different from the sing-song of the old. This time, it was so stern to the point of forcing criminals to either repent or perish. Commissioner of Police, Dan Mallam Mohammed, has shown an unmistakable zeal to reduce crime and criminality to point zero in Enugu state and he said that and many more during an encounter with our Crime Editor, Emma Nnadozie and Chinenye Ozor. “Excerpts:
What I met on the ground
I resumed duty in Enugu state in February 23, 2017 and as it is now, I can say that the state has been peaceful and calm, although there are some security challenges I met on the ground but all those challenges are being tackled with every sense of belonging and seriousness. We are working to ensure the state enjoys peace while lives and property are being protected. Crime rate in the state is at the barest minimum and there is no hiding place for criminals and kidnappers in Enugu state.
On the vexed issue of kidnapping
There are no further kidnap cases since I resumed duty as the commissioner of Police, Enugu state. This is because of the synergy between the police and other sister security agencies in the state. We work hand in hand with one another. We equally make good use of visibility policing in collaboration with local vigilante groups across communities in the state. Our men are always at alert on any slightest distress call at any given time. We partner with members of the public on intelligence information through community policing and that is why they volunteer information to us. The aspect of our breakthrough is the supportive effort of the Inspector- General of Police. He encouraged officers and men of the police force, not just in Enugu state, to discharge police duties without fear and eschew bribery and corruption in the discharge their civic responsibility at all times. The IGP encouragement serves as morale booster to perform their duties without any fear.
When I came, I inherited the kidnap case of Ejiofor Enechi who was the security adviser to Uzo- Uwani local government chairman. The situation on the kidnap and death of Ejiofor was that Fulani herdsmen abducted him but after intelligence investigation, it was discovered that the crime was caused and perpetrated by natives who hide under neighbourhood watch in the area to commit all sorts of atrocities. We arrested some of them who took us to Malaysian forest where they buried the victim in a shallow grave. We recovered the decomposed body of late Ejiofor but before then, some Fulani herdsmen were arrested over other cases of kidnap and highway robbery and charged to court. Our investigations showed that most cases of kidnap and robbery along Adani/Nsukka highway were committed by both natives and Fulani herdsmen operating differently in the area. So, cases in the area is a combination of two, the natives and the herdsmen but that of late Ejiofor, was purely the natives who perpetrated the heinous crime. They have been charged to court for trial.
Armed robbery in the state
Armed robbery and other related crime and vices are being handled with every amount of seriousness based on intelligence. Anti- robbery section of the state police command arrested a total of 85 suspects, 250 live arms and ammunitions and 19 vehicles were recovered. I want to assure you that criminals have no hiding place in Enugu state as far I am still the commissioner of police in the state.
Relationship wit the government
The relationship with Enugu state government has been very cordial. The Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has been very supportive to the state police command. He is an amiable governor of the state who has listening ear to the calls of the general public. The governor is working sincerely with the fear of God as he would always say that Enugu state is in the hands of God and truly, the state is in the hands of God. We will continue to thank the state governor for his support to the state police command. The governor has distinguished himself as a true son with the fear of God and the police command will continue to identify and solicit for more support from the state government.
Welfare of the police
The issue of welfare of the police is a general issue. I have always told my men to do their duty with the fear of God, not to extort money from the public as there is always reward for good work done to mankind., if not now, certainly later, by God.
IPOB/MASSOB Activities in Enugu state
There is freedom of association and religion in Nigeria. I see the activities of IPOB/MASSOB as part of democracy. The two groups are hitting up the beauty of democracy for their agitations. The system of democracy is free speech but one has be very diplomatic in approach to issues but not to be violent nor shouting wolf where none exists.
More police Area commands
The Inspector- General of police, Ibrahim Idris, has approved more police Area commands to be established in Enugu state to strengthen efforts of the existing Area commands and police divisions for efficiency anchored on hard work. The IGP has all it takes to lead Nigeria police force. He is gentle, amiable and kind- hearted as he would always urge all the state commands to ensure crime prevention and not to leave any stone unturned in the course of fighting crime and other social ills and vices.
At the end of the day…
By the time I leave Enugu state, I want to leave legacy of goodwill, honesty and a crime-free state.