An ex-Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Abubakar Tsav, has condemned the recent killing of FCT Deputy Police Commissioner Umar Umar and Channels TV reporter, Precious Owolabi during a violent protest by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) on Monday.
Mr Umar and Owolabi, a serving corps member met their painful demise following a face off between the radical Shiite sect and police.
Mr Tsav, who himself climbed through the ranks in the force, up to the level of Commissioner, says the constant attacks and killing of security personnel by the Sectarian extremists is utterly condemnable.
In a statement signed by the ex- Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, the latest assaults further has removed all doubts that the group is non-violent, as they now plant gunmen in their protests.
Having examined gunshots that killed the DCP, other Nigerians and those seriously wounded in a previous attacks, Tsav concluded that these were not random shots.
While urging the security agencies to change its tactics, the ex-Police Commissioner, however, advised the Federal Government to proscribe the group.
Read full statement below:
Monday’s killing of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar and several other Nigerians in an attack by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, has removed all doubts that the Shiite sectarian group is non-violent contrary to its claim. The attack in the Three Arms Zone, the heart of the Federal Government in Abuja, followed a new pattern of IMN planting gunmen in their protests in order to cause maximum mayhem.
From a law enforcement perspective, the gunshots that killed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, other Nigerians and those seriously wounded in a previous attack when IMN extremists invaded the National Assembly were not random shots. The precision that resulted in such deaths and grievous injuries attests to the concerns earlier expressed by several stakeholders that IMN has a militant wing, whose members have received terrorist training.
These recent attacks and killing of policemen is a harsh reminder of previous threats by IMN to bring the country to its knee when it decides to use arms and weapons in its protests. An IMN leader, Abdullahi Zango was reported in November 5, 2018 as saying “If we have weapons with us, Nigeria Army is too small to face us” yet some sections of the population continues to advocate for them to be treated with soft gloves.
As a retired policeman who knows what sacrifice it takes to serve one’s fatherland and how one’s passion can propel one to serve even under the most dangerous situations, I condemn IMN’s resort to targeting policemen for assassination during their protests. It is a reprehensible tactics that is intended to scare the police into allowing IMN extremists overrun Abuja before going on to take over the entire country.
Beyond condemnation, there is a need to send a strong message to IMN that it cannot go around killing policemen without repercussions. Their leader, whose release they are protesting for is not being held by the police but rather standing trial before a court in Kaduna state so there was no justification for them to begin killing policemen that are on legitimate duty without them being held to account.
I urge the federal government and the Inspector General of the Police change their approach of not engaging these extremists since they have now made it clear that there is nothing peaceful about them. The government cannot continue to treat these acts of terrorism as mere criminal acts with the implication that the group’s members must be flushed out of Abuja, where they are reported to have established cells across the entire districts and satellite towns.
The prescription is to take a preventive approach in addition to whatever mediatory efforts are going on. IMN cells in the Federal Capital Territory should be identified, the cells should be dismantled and their members arrested using warrants arising from the attacks already carried out in the city, and anyone caught engaged in violent acts in the city should be tried under the Terrorism Prevention Act.
It is pertinent to warn those sympathizing with or supporting IMN to have a rethink since even the group itself has toned down on its claim to being peaceful; it has embraced wholesale terrorism such that the only clamour that should come from stakeholders is how to curtail the bloodthirsty rage of the IMN so that more policemen do not have to die needlessly because some sectarian extremists considers them less human.
As I look forward to see far reaching actions from the federal government and the police leadership, I express my condolence to the families left bereaved by the IMN’s wanton acts of violence while whishing the wounded speedy recovery.