The intriguing deployment of four commissioners to the Bayelsa State Command of the Nigeria Police Force within two weeks, by the Police High Command, is currently causing confusion, tension and anxiety among Bayelsans and residents of the state.
While many fear that the security of the people could be jeopardised by this ugly development, allegations are rife that the police hierarchy may have been influenced to redeploy the commissioners by politicians who were uncomfortable with the officers posted to the state ahead of the election year.
Only two weeks after Dan Awunah was redeployed to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, replaced by Joseph Mukan; as the state Police Command was making arrangements to welcome Mukan, he was removed and replaced with Ahmed Bello.
As Bello was preparing to take over the reins, an apparently confused Force Headquarters issued a fresh signal asking CP Ahmad Abdulraman to proceed to Bayelsa as the commissioner of police.And just like the other two, Abdulrahman was on the verge of assuming duty in Yenagoa, when yet another signal from the Force Headquarters announced his replacement with Austin Iwar, who is currently the Kaduna State police chief.
While the state command awaits Iwar’s resumption, The Guardian gathered that powerful politicians have again engineered moves to have him replaced.The rapidity in police chief deployments in the state is also a thing of concern to government officials, as well as, Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and other stakeholders, including pro-democracy groups, who view the police confusion with suspicion.
Former Secretary of the CLO in Bayelsa State, Comrade Morris Alagoa, describes the development as embarrassing, saying that posting should not be done according to the highest bidder, but by police structure.Alagoa, said, “The high frequency seems like even the Force Headquarters in Abuja does not know what the implications are; how embarrassing it is, as if such postings are done according to the highest bidder. It shouldn’t be. If the police has one command structure, it should show itself and, not in this seemingly uncoordinated manner.
“Ordinarily, one wouldn’t interfere with the posting of security officers because in saner climes such would be viewed as being made in the interest of the society, consideration of the environment, special needs and competence of the officers so posted. Security officers are posted not just for the sake of posting, but to deliver expected results,” he said.
Alagoa continued: “The police should distance itself from politics and do police duties in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians…and not align to political parties.“It is only when the police and other security agencies restrict themselves to their constitutional roles that citizens would enjoy the dividends of democracy…but that will not be guaranteed if these security agencies are partisan.
“However, when the handshake goes beyond the wrist, it would naturally elicit curiosity. That is why, some stakeholders are actually concerned about this very high frequency in posting and replacing police commissioners sent to Bayelsa State…” The IYC also smells a rat in the gale of transfers as its secretary general, Mr. Alfred Kemepado, in a statement, said that it was indeed suspicious for the Force Headquarters to post four commissioners of police to one state within such a short period of time.
He said the action of the Force Headquarters, under the leadership of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, smacks of a surreptitious plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use the police authorities to politicise the security situation in the state, with the sole aim of causing instability in the state.
Kemepado called on the police authorities not to allow themselves to be used by politicians, pointing out that, the removal of CP Don Awunah after working so hard, in collaboration with sister security agencies to safeguard the state within his short stay and the subsequent rash of deployments points in the direction of politicisation of security in the state.He recalled the repeated warnings by critical stakeholders against the politicisation of security, which could cause insecurity in the society.Kemepado regretted that since Awunah’s transfer to the Force Headquarters, the Police High Command had left Bayelsa State without a boss.
According to the group, information at the disposal of the IYC indicated that no police commissioner had taken over from Awunah two weeks after his redeployment from the state to Force Headquarters, Abuja.“We in the IYC, the umbrella body of all Ijaw youths across Nigeria are inclined to believe that, this frequent deployment of police commissioners to Bayelsa State might be traceable to political desperation and a tendency to cause instability in the state.
“We wish to make it clear that instability in Bayelsa State, the only homogenous Ijaw state in Nigeria, could cause instability across the Niger Delta… It is on this note that we call on the Force Headquarters and the IGP to exercise restraint and resist the plot by desperate politicians to use police authorities to politicise security in the state,” the statement read, just as it warned against any attempt to cause instability in order to score cheap political goals in the
The Bayelsa Good Governance Watch, a pro-democracy group also expressed concern at odd postings.Convener of the group, Ebitimi Igori, who spoke to journalists, said it was worrisome that the police administration was causing confusion in the state by the frequent and irregular deployments.Igori alleged that the frequent change of guards was part of a plot by APC leaders in Bayelsa , who are envious of Governor Seriake Dickson’s strides in the security of lives and property to cause panic and destabilise the state.
“It is becoming clear that the police has become partisan in Bayelsa State. From all indications, the police authorities have pandered to the whims and caprices of desperate politicians in the state. Their aim is to foment trouble and destabilise our state ahead of the 2019 elections. These politicians have no future in our state and as far as they are concerned, they must destabilise the state and return it to the old days of the swarming locust when Bayelsa was like a killing field.
“It is equally very embarrassing that in less than two weeks no fewer than four CPs have been posted to the state to replace CP Don Awunah, who has been redeployed to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.The group fingered two prominent opposition politicians in the state, one of whom it said is desperate to return to power, of being behind the manipulation of the police in order to cause panic.
It therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call IGP Idris to order so as not to ignite another round of crisis in the state.Reacting to the group’s allegation that APC was behind the transfers, the state publicity secretary of the party, Doifie Buokoribo, dismissed the allegation, saying he will not joins words with the peddlers of such allegation.
He said: “In a season of politics, people say all sorts of nonsense, including allegations not supported by facts.Spokesman of the state Police Command, Asimin Butswat, told The Guardian on phone said the command is still awaiting the substantive Commissioner of Police as Austin Iwar is still in Kaduna, and yet to assume duty in Bayelsa.