The incessant killing of policemen while on duty has, in recent times, become a recurring decimal with an alarming regularity, making it a worrisome phenomenon in the country. The latest incident occurred last week when the Taraba State Command of the Nigeria Police confirmed the death of three police officers and two vigilante personnel who were attacked by suspected herdsmen in Bujum Kasuwa village on Thursday September 6, 2018 in Lau local government area of the state. The team which was led by a Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) ASP Kilobas was ambushed while responding to a distress call.
A statement issued by the Command’s spokesperson, ASP David Misal, said that sequel to a distress call, team of five policemen accompanied by three vigilantes were drafted to Bujum Kasuwa. He said, “While on their way, they were attacked by suspected herdsmen and consequently, ASP Kolobas Iliya with two others and two vigilantes were killed while others escaped. Two arms, one AK47 riffle, and one service pistol were carted away by the attackers”.
It would be recalled that in July this year, 7 police officers and a civilian stationed at a police post at the junction of Galadimawa roundabout after Sun City Estate in Abuja, were killed by unknown gunmen. Policemen on guard duty were also killed during the robbery attacks on some banks in Lapai, Niger state and Offa, Kwara state. Policemen have also been killed in other instances by restive youth, in community clashes, during mob attacks and during security operations across 27 states in the country.
A recent report published by the Daily Trust on Saturday in its September 1, 2918 edition shows that 108 policemen were killed on duty, mostly by criminals and non-state actors between January and August 2018. A breakdown of the casualties reveals that while one policeman was killed during the eight months period in Adamawa, Enugu, Cross Rivers, Kano, Katsina, Ogun, Niger, Imo and Kebbi states; two policemen were killed in Ekiti and Anambra states; three in each of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Oyo, Sokoto and Plateau states respectively. Four policemen were also killed in Borno and Delta states; five in Lagos state; six in Nasarawa and Edo states; eight in Benue state; nine in Kwara state; ten in Abuja; eleven in Rivers state; and fourteen in Kaduna state.
Reacting to this development, Police spokesperson, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jimoh Moshood, said the number of policemen killed within the given period isn’t up to 108; saying “The figure is not near that at all but we lost personnel in the crisis areas”. DCP Moshood should note that it is devastating enough even if it were one policeman that was killed within the period. The life of a policeman is no less sacred than the life of a civilian member of the public which the police is obliged to protect.
It is sad to observe that in spite of attacks on police at their stations, many police stations in the country have not been fortified with perimeter fence. Every police station should not only be fenced but also provided with CCTV cameras. Because criminals have realized the poorly armed nature of policemen, they first launch attacks police stations before proceeding to rob banks within the area.
Modern policing requires more logistics and the use of technology than personnel. Provision of basic gadgets and equipment are essential for protecting policemen in line of duty. Before embarking on operations, policemen and women must be well kitted with protective tools and devices including bulletproof vests and must be adequately armed with firearms and ammunitions. The training and re-training of personnel is similarly essential if only to achieve efficient self-protection for policemen while on duty.