*Says ex-EFCC boss, Magu not free from prosecution if indicted
*…hints on recruiting additional 10,000 Police constables
*… begins implementation of community policing
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Federal Government on Thursday said that the unknown gunmen operating in the Southeast are terrorists and that they are being treated in the language they understand.
The Federal Government also said that though the newly promoted former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has been retired from the Police Force, he would be prosecuted if eventually indicted by the probe panel chaired by Justice Ayo Salami (retd).
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The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi disclosed this when he was featured at the ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Dingyadi at the briefing enumerated key achievements in his ministry including the introduction of community policing, resuscitation of the police public complaints committee, improved police welfare, and acquisition of a special force base at Zuba, Abuja among others.
Asked whether the intelligence community of the government have been able to identify the unknown gunmen causing havoc in the South-east since the members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, have disowned the killings in the region, Dingyadi said “Okay, the unknown gunmen, you want to know who they are? I want to tell you that they are unknown gunmen and they are also criminals. They’re terrorists and we are dealing with them in the language they understand.”
Fielding question on why the Police authorities have yet to act on the recommendations of the Justice Salami probe panel set up by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2020 to investigate the corruption allegations against Magu but went ahead to promote him to an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, Dingyadi said:
“This is an issue that should have been addressed by the Police Service Commission, which has the responsibility to conduct promotions of the police. They are not here. And I am aware that the Police Service Commission is directly under the presidency.
“So I cannot speak for them. But what I know is that Mr Magu has already retired and that is what I can tell you now. The fact that he was promoted is a matter for the Police Commission to maybe throw more light on. I’m not aware of the position of the government on the report you are talking about and I think it is still being under consideration. It doesn’t mean that when he retires, the laws will not catch up with him whenever he is found guilty. So, I think it’s not finished business.”
Recall that the Salami’s panel upon conclusion of its assignment turned in its report in November of the same year to the President.
The minister, refrained from updating the media on the corruption charges against Abba Kyari, the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police now in custody facing prosecution, saying that the matter is in court and would amount to subjudice to comment on it.
He said the Police have begun to deploy technology in dealing with crimes and criminalities in the country, adding that the Police authorities were striving hard to be civil in their operations and would deploy firearms were necessary for the discharge of their responsibilities.
On the issue of community policing the Minister of Police Affairs said that 25,000 constabularies have been trained and deployed to various communities across the country and that the Ministry was considering the recruitment of additional 10,000 police constables in the next one month or two in line with the President’s directive to employ 40,000 men within his second tenure.
“On whether we have started the implementation of community policing programme and the role of communities in the community policing programme. It has commenced and we couldn’t have trained 25,000 constabularies if the programme has not started. So the programme is on the course and is in all the 36 states of the Federation, and these constabularies have been posted to their various communities.
“And the responsibility of the communities in which these constabularies are being posted is to cooperate with these constabularies to ensure that they assist them in sharing intelligence, in reporting cases that need to be reported. And to assist them in resolving issues that can be easily or locally resolved. So the community policing programme is there for the communities to ensure that they collaborate with these constabularies to provide peace in their communities.”
Responding to the request for psychiatric tests for policemen to ascertain their psychological stability, the minister said the men were being made to undergo rigorous and extensive screening, including medical tests on prospective recruits, assuring that the best available were those engaged in the system.
He however urged the community leaders to cooperate with the constabularies posted to them by gathering and sharing intelligence as well as reporting cases that needed to be reported.