…as policemen that arrested Evans groan in silence
By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
FOR over two years, while the kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike aka Evans, held sway, terrorizing Nigerians, the police did not rest in their efforts to bring him to book.
Anti-kidnap units and the Special Anti-robbery teams from both Lagos State Command and Federal team at Adeniji-Adele were detailed to arrest both the kingpin and members of his gang. Unfortunately, all their efforts came to nought as the kidnap gang wielded more influence. In fact, the gang defied all known and unknown police methods of dealing with criminals.
Then, the visibly rattled Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, cleverly avoided re-enacting what happened many years ago when the notorious armed robbery kingpin, Anini held sway in Edo State. The then military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida was quoted as asking the Inspector-General of Police, late Etim Inyang, after a tensed security meeting, about the whereabouts of Anini, the most wanted criminal in the country. That singular poser pushed IGP Etim Inyang towards taking a greater action which led to the arrest of Anini. That may have also gingered IGP Idris Ibrahim into detailing his special Intelligence unit led by ACP Abah Kyari, to fish out Evans, dead or alive.
It is on record that the team worked assiduously and relentlessly towards meeting up with the directives of their boss. They combed all the nooks and crannies of the country in pursuit of Evans without success. Incidentally, while they were deeply engaged in both intelligence and operational reports about the elusive kidnap guru, they were able also to nip in the bud, many robbery operations.
They also rounded up many known and unknown criminal gangs in different parts of the country. That was how they were able to arrest another notorious armed robbery kingpin, Vampire, who escaped from the Owerri High Court in a commando-like operation executed by members of his dreaded gang.
Fleeing gang leader
It is also remarkable that the team played active part in tracing the fleeing gang leader and arresting his gang members in an operation that remains unforgettable in police records. Still, the issue of Evans kept on troubling police authorities to the point that they made a pledge of N30 million to the team if they succeeded in arresting Evans.
The team then recorded the greatest feat of them all by cornering the most sought after Evans in an obscure corner of Lagos, after hopes were lost on the possibility of making him pay for his crimes.
This was just a few hours before he had perfected his evil plans to flee the country. That singular feat brought unsurpassable joy to many homes including families of many of his victims, dead and alive. There was an uproarious and resounding acclamation and, for the first time, Nigerians rose in unison to applaud the Police.
Basking in the euphoria of the arrest, police authorities announced that special promotion will be given to their men that recorded that success. Surprisingly, members of the rank and file were immediately remunerated with the special promotion leaving their senior officers in limbo.
However, no sooner this heart-warming announcement was made than stories of undue manipulations and back-yard under deals filtered out. While the police openly trumpeted that the team that achieved that feat will be rewarded, news from the Police Service Commission sounded otherwise. Stories of arbitrariness and imposition of names to undeserving policemen and officers rent the air. At the last count, it was learnt that no fewer than 200 names were sent to the Police Service Commission as beneficiaries of the special promotion over Evans.
Then, more facts emerged of infighting between the Police Service Commission, PSC, and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. This is in spite of the yawing chasm between the high number submitted and the real men that carried out the operation to a final end. This lingering schism has taken a damaging toll on the ovation that greeted the feat while the morale of the real boys that did the job dovetailed to ground zero.
In fact, the ugly situation has affected the morale of many officers and men of the police to the extent that any of them that put in more efforts in his line of duty will be openly taunted by his colleagues. So far, it has been a clear case of while the elephants fight, the grass suffers. It is unthinkable that the gallant men that performed the miracle story of Evans are still seemingly hoping against hope, to get the reward of their hard work while both the police and Police Service Commission fight for supremacy. Time to act is now to stop this ugly trend. Members of the team that fought the battle are well known and should be singled out and given their well deserved promotion without further delay.