For one year, seven months running, the Divisional Police Station, Aboh, supposed to provide security for coastal communities in Ndokwa East Local Government Area, Delta State, scandalously, has no arms and ammunition in its armory for police officers deployed to the division to fight crime.
The Burutu Police Division in Burutu Local Government Area also has scanty arms, about three AK-47 rifles, a pistol and 22 policemen to serve over 74 riverine communities.
Suspected militants and sea pirates allegedly plundered Aboh Police Station in September 2018, killing two police officers and carting away five AK-47 rifles and other vigilante firearms at the police station, but since then, the state Commissioner of Police has not deemed it expedient to replace the pilfered weapons.
To avoid further disgrace of the weaponless policemen, local vigilante and anti-cult groups have been synergizing with them in protecting the station and handling some security breaches in the division.
Findings by Saturday Vanguard show that Delta State Police Command has had four Commissioners of Police since the incident. Muhammad Mustafa handed over in December 2018 to Anthony Ogbizi. Adeleke Yinka took over from Ogbizi in February 2019, but about 10 months after, December 2019, Hafiz Inuwa, took charge. He has been in control for more than four months.
Vanguard investigations show that residents of peaceful people of Aboh and surrounding coastal communities have been living at the mercy of bandits since then. Some hoodlums escape from Rivers state to take refuge in Aboh knowing that the police on ground were weaponless.
What baffled informed citizens of the area is the shoddy manner police detectives handled investigations into the theft of their own weapons, apprehending mainly innocent persons, who they tormented, squeezed money from and later released, while the real criminals they should have tracked down with intelligence information were never arrested till date.
An Assistant Commissioners of Police, ACP, who confirmed the development and asked our reporter not to quote him, said: “It is an embarrassment.”
It was learned that Aboh Police Station serves almost half of Ndokwa East local government area, but there is another police division, Ashaka, which serves the other section of the area.
In Burutua, policemen are ‘boys scouts’, they have no arms to operate – Stainless, Buruta CDC chair
Community Development Committee, CDC, chair, Burutu community, Mr. Pondy Ebipadeowei Stainless, hinted Saturday Vanguard: “Burutu community, headquarters of Burutu local government area, has a newly-created Police Area Command and Police Divisional office.
”Early, this year, I attended a South-South Security Summit in Asaba, where the Inspector General of Police, IGP, governors and commissioners were also in attendance. In that meeting, I told the IGP about the sorry state of the police in Burutu local government area, who expressed surprise and was jotting down points.
”The fact remains that there is no manpower, no arms and officers are not mobile because there are no patrol boats to police the riverine council area. They recently deployed 12 additional police officers to complement the existing 12 officers making it up to 24 to police over 74 communities in the council area. The additional 12 officers maybe as a result of my appeal at the Asaba summit.
”Again, in the Burutu police division, there are about three rifles and a pistol. In fact, the police in Burutu local government area are more or less Boy Scouts,” he said.
Aboh police has no guns as we speak – Hon Imegwu, ex-Speaker
Former Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly and respected leader in Aboh, Rt. Hon Olisa Imegwu, who is familiar with the incident, told Saturday Vanguard unequivocally: “The Divisional Police Station at Aboh, headquarters of Ndokwa East local government area does not have arms and ammunition as we speak. Sometime in 2018, some criminals attacked the police station and stole their arms, I think they killed two policemen when they broke into the police station. The police authorities have not replaced the stolen arms till date.”
Hon Imegwu, who spoke in Asaba, asserted: “The rented apartment they are currently using as a temporal police station in Aboh was rented from me. We were in a speedboat going to Ashaka when a young man, who also boarded with us made a strange request to the boat driver. He wanted him to stop at a point on the river to enable him pick up a luggage. The request was abnormal because whenever a boat is loaded, the driver does not normally stop on the way to pick any luggage.”
“The driver’s reaction and that of all of us in the boat was that of shock, but the driver all the same granted the request of the passenger, who I couldn’t simply identify. Actually, at a certain point during the journey, he asked the driver to stop for him to pick the said luggage, we were waiting in the boat when the driver saw somebody carrying a bag, which he immediately suspected was containing guns and he screamed he does not ferry and would not transport guns.
“The young man, who owns the guns disembarked at that point and it was after that I got to know that the Aboh Police Division was raided the previous night. As soon as I got to where there was network, I called the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, he said he was no longer in Aboh, that he had been transferred to another station, I think he said Aladja Police Division..