…Story of a jail serving kidnap kingpin operating from prison
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
COMMISSIONER of Police, Delta State Command, Mr. Muhammad Mustafa, has spoken on the kidnappers who cause the biggest trouble for policemen in the state, their modus operandi and how they are policing the state.
He, said that the police have consolidated anti robbery operations, making it complicated for armed robbers to smoothly operate anymore in the state.
Mustapha, in an encounter with Saturday Vanguard at Asaba, said kidnapping was currently a complicated affair for the police, but was quick to add that it was being tackled, revealing how a notorious kidnapper was tracked and arrested at a hotel in Ughelli where he was relaxing after an operation.
Recently, the police through intelligence uncovered a syndicate involving a staff of Federal Prisons, Okere, near Warri official and a kidnap kingpin serving his jail term, who under curious circumstances, was allowed to leave the prison for a hotel in Warri to arrange abduction outside.
The Commissioner first burst into a long laugher when Saturday Vanguard wittingly asked him how his friends (armed robbers and other criminals) were co-operating with him since he assumed office in the state, eight months ago, and how he was cooperating with them on the other hand.
“It is an interesting question really,” he told Saturday Vanguard as he exploded in another round of laughter, after which he cleared his throat and declared: “Well, we are not friends, I think we have clearly set our plans and we are tracking them and we get them.”
“But for those who come up, which we cannot easily plan for, that is kidnappers, that is the one that can just take place without you knowing, we swing into action once we get report using intelligence. In most cases, we also try to prevent kidnapping, but when it happens, you will not know when it happens, it is one crime that does not ring bell. They stop victims on the way, abduct them, even the family of a victim may not want to report to the police.
“So we go out in search of them with intelligence. We are having one now, trying to track them, such ones give you headache. You may be tracking them and some may just rush to take ransom and go, these ones are difficult. Other ones like armed robbery are becoming easier for us, we just harden the targets to make it difficult for them to just operate and go.
But individuals must also help to take security measures; we need the collaboration of the public, community policing, vigilante and all that,” he added.
Yes, we lost 5 weapons but…
On the reported loss of weapons to armed robbers in the state, he confirmed the report, saying: “Of recent, we have had challenges; five of our weapons are in their hands, although we have arrested them, they are in our custody, but they are yet to bring the weapons.”
“We are on it because. One of them is still outside. Probably, that could have given us the full idea, we have about six of them operating in three places and of recent, we had one attack in which one policeman was killed, but by and large we are arresting kidnapping and other crimes.
Theft in Tompolo’s jetty
Commenting on the navy personnel arrested over the looting of transformer at the jetty of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, he said: “Crime has been committed, the suspect is in our custody but we have given him to the Nigerian Navy, they contacted us that they needed to carry out their own part of investigation because he is a security agent and you do not take a serving member to court. They will finish their own part before they hand over to us.”
“Even the military (army) has just transferred one to us, who was said to have killed a policeman somewhere around Jesse during a burial ceremony. They left their duty post, went to where people were scampering for food and in the end, the policeman was killed. They finished their in-house thing, handed over to us, we have arraigned him.
No crime is impossible to crack in Delta
Mustafa spoke of his observations on his eight month in the state. His words: “This is my eight month in the state. We have law enforcement fully structured and in place carrying out their responsibilities being supported by the state government. We have just taken delivery of additional 20 fairly used Sienna buses to reinforce our strength. “
“I can tell you that there is a lot synergy among law enforcement agencies in Delta state. We work like a family here. So, there is no crime that is insurmountable here. Once in a while, challenges of kidnapping are there, but we are better off, we will further reduce the crime level in the state.
“Additionally, we want to see how we can reduce the number of deaths caused by armed robbery. You know that kidnapping hardly records death, the major thing is ransom. But traffic accidents consume a lot of life, cultism and murder by people over quarrels over land and mere arguments. We need to sensitize people here and we need the press, at the slightest provocation, you see people carrying cutlass, etc.,” he said.
How police, state govt decreased attacks by herdsmen
Commissioner Mustafa revealed that the reduction in the menace of killer-herdsmen in the state was due mainly to “pro-activeness on the part of government, security agencies and all the stakeholders.”
“That is what led to the reduction in herdsmen attacks in the state. You know since we had our meeting after 2016, the last one was this year, especially after the marching order by the governor to all the local government chairmen to be reporting to the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, holding stakeholders’ meetings and reporting to him, things have improved.”
“And then the Special Assistants, Security and Non-Indigenes interfacing, traversing, holding meetings within and outside the state, you know it is a national issue. So here at the Command, what we are doing is what it take to manage i. We are talking to them. Initially, people were saying, we did not want them, let them leave.
“It is difficult to ask people not to come to Delta, you cannot prevent them. But what we do is engaging the leaders of the herdsmen and the farmers too. We sit down at a forum to discuss and where we have problems like people being killed, we manage it so that it will not escalate, so our continuous meetings and community policing have seriously helped,” he said.
Mustafa said two interesting cases in the last few months – f some young men, who killed their girlfriends and buried them in the soak away until police detectives, discovered the crime after several months.
“They took their bones out and in the two cases; the victims had babies that were sold and were killed because of their complaints.
“The other one is the attack on policemen. It was strange to us, policemen with arms, you attack them, take their weapons, kill one or two of them, but like I told you, we are on top of it. Six of them are already with us, we have to get the weapons,” he asserted.