***Says no room for human rights abuse
Commissioner of Police, Delta state, Muhammed Ari Ali is, certainly, a tested and trusted crime fighter.
He has served in virtually all the volatile parts of the country including Lagos state where he succeeded in fighting criminals to a standstill as a Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations for many years.
He was recently elevated and posted to head Delta state, the big heart of the Nation where he is presently tackling crime decisively.
He spoke with Vanguard Crime Editor, Emma Nnadozie on how he is facing the seemingly onerous task of fighting crime and criminality.
You are barely six weeks as CP Delta State, what is your assessment of efforts made so far in the fight against crime and criminality in the state?
Well, so far so good. I will say we are doing considerably well, we are on top of the situation in spite of the few challenges that erupted in the last one week, that has to do with the killing of one or two of my policemen, but we are not resting on our oars. I assure you, very soon we are going to smash that gang.
Crime as you know has no jurisdiction and we are aware of that. So, we are following the pattern, we are following the trend and by the grace of God very soon, it will be behind us. That is my
Talking about challenges, what area or areas do think these hoodlums are proving stubborn and how do you intend to tackle the menace?
The areas are in kidnapping and cultism. Armed robbery is neither here nor there. And with the support of members of the public and spirited individuals, in line with the community policing ideals, we will partner together, synergize with a view to nipping these crimes in the bud even before they are perpetrated.
You talked about synergy, what is your level of synergy with sister agencies in the state?
Oh great, very robust. We have that rapport, and we intend to maintain it to tackle crime in the state together.
Delta state is a gateway to other Eastern states with peculiar topography including creeks; how prepared are you to fight crimes considering the distinct position of the state on the nation’s map?
We are not unaware of this and that is why if you move round all the gateway locations, you will find patrol vehicles that are there on ‘pin-down’ monitoring the influx of vehicular and human movements in and out of the state.
This is in view of the fact that we consider first and foremost, the economic importance of the state; it is an oil producing state and no investor, no oil company will want to come to a state where there is no peace.
Peace in Delta state is very critical to the federal government and you will observe that my crime fighting strategies that are put in place since I assumed office are working.
Apart from that particular gang that has been moving around, attacking and getting arms from our men, I have been able to call on Divisional Police Officers, all Area Commanders and talked to them, giving them a serious warning.
I told them that any DPO who allows his area to be taken over by these hoodlums, by having two or three cases of kidnapping, cultism or armed robbery will be out of office. What this means is that you are not fit to be a DPO in that area.
I have given them my word. You can only remain in office as DPO when we know that you can deliver but if you cannot deliver, be rest assured that you are out of that place.
Let’s talk about rights abuse: How do you intend to ensure that your policemen are civil enough to engender robust police/public relationship?
Of course, you are aware that I have since commenced familiarization tour of my Area Commands and Divisions and I have also been talking to the officers and rank and file and their DPOs too; and I made it known to all members of the public that this administration under my watch will not tolerate any case of human rights abuse.
This administration will not also tolerate any situation whereby my men will not be seen civil. Added to is, is my zero tolerance for corruption.
I have made them understand that one of the major reasons that brought about the #EndSARS protest had to do with the case of abuse of human rights.
Stopping somebody on the road, searching his bag, assaulting him and doing all sorts of things that are inhuman under the guise of fighting crimes were responsible for the protest nationwide.
And you are aware of the colossal damage the Police suffered as a result of that protest. All these shall not be tolerated in this administration under my watch.
You must respect people’s rights; the people you are abusing on the streets are your employers. Those are the taxpayers that are paying bills and you have no reason to meet somebody on the road and brutalize him or her.
Their rights must be protected as enshrined and, of course, guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution. We are aware of this and we must obey it to the letter.
What is your advice to criminal elements in the state?
My advice to them is to relocate or drop their arms if they want to remain in the state and key into my policing ideals because there will certainly be no hiding place for criminal elements in the state as they will certainly meet their waterloo.
Anyone caught will certainly face the full wrath of the law. So, it is better you run away from Delta State to anywhere else you feel free to perpetrate your crime.
But if you remain here, one day you will certainly meet your waterloo. And to the public, I want to call on them, let them continue to be law-abiding, they should have that implicit trust and confidence on the police and also share information, give us vital information about the whereabouts of these criminals.
Because I tell people that the police are not magicians neither are we spirit. We rely a hundred per cent on the information we get from members of the public in order to combat crime.
They are the ones living in all the nooks and crannies of the communities, they know the criminals more than we do, they know where these criminals normally hibernate or meet, so it beholds on them to keep us abreast of movements of these criminals so that together, we can take the state to a greater height.
Lastly, the onslaught against criminals is ongoing, we have just started and I know that we are winning the war against crime and criminalities; that trust should be there.
Deltans must sleep with their two eyes closed, that is what I am set to achieve and that is why I am here.