A House divided against Itself cannot Stand; Police/Army Rupture, A Noxious Innuendo about our Security Apparatus

In our Country, it is not strange to hear of members of the law enforcement agencies paying the ultimate price in the course of executing their constitutional duties most times under murky and unsavory circumstances. For eons of years, the Joe Bloggs of these law enforcement agencies have ceaselessly reeked displeasure over the malady etched in their modus operandi and have pinpointed it as the main reason patrotic officers continuously fall prey to men of the underworld.

However, it is anomalous and berating when comrades in the Armed Forces who ought to be peas in a pod begin to engage in wrangles even to the height of exchanging friendly fire. Again, in our country this is not a strange occurrence as we have seen and heard times innumerable of fratricidal incidents within the Armed Forces, bringing to mind that which is written in the holy book 📖📖 “a house divided against itself cannot stand”

Without subscribing to jaundice, a large chunk of these fatal piques has been between the Officers of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Army. Recently,on the 7th of August precisely, a police IRT team returning from a mission in Taraba met a sticky end when soldiers from the 93 battalion Kantum attacked them.

As usual, there has been dissenting opinions as to what really transpired, according to the police its officers were on a lawful mandate, were with the appropriate identification and that their operation was known to the Taraba Police Command yet the soldiers attached to the 93 Battalion had gone on to kill them. They also asked why were the Police Operatives shot at close range even after they had identified themselves as Police Officers on legitimate duty as evident in the video now in circulation?

In response to the Police statement, the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said in a statement that the unfortunate incident happened because the officers failed to identify themselves to troops.

He said troops of 93 Battalion Nigerian Army Takum were responding to a distress call to rescue a kidnapped victim when they clashed with the Police team.

He said the team’s bus refused to stop when they were flagged down at three different Army checkpoints before they fired on troops who fired back in self-defence.

Amidst the controversies and dissenting commentaries which are pari passu with occurrences as this, one painful truth remains uncontroverted and irrevocable and that is, our country has lost patrotic officers who became victims of an avoidable rupture between sister agencies.

The Police has identified the deceased officers as Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Usman Danzumi, and Sergeant Dahiru Musa.

The Force disclosed that the trio were part of the team responsible for the high profile arrest of notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, in 2017.

They also contributed to last month’s rescue of Musa Umar Uba, an in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was in captivity for two months.

They were also part of the teams that arrested Umar Abdulmalik Overall, a Boko Haram commander, as well as 22 Boko Haram terrorists responsible for the 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno.
The Force described the team of the deceased officers as one of the “best and most highly trained IRT teams” in the country.

This writer is yet to convalesce from the ennui he was shanghaied into on hearing of this unfortunate incident. Aside the fact that the deceased were some of the finest breed of policemen, we must also take into cognisance the fact that these gallant men hail from families- they have wives, children and other family relations who have inadvertently been plunged into sorrow by the untimely death of their loved ones.

Reading up to this point, you may ask “why kick up a fuss over spilled milk?”

It is not oblivious to any Nigerian that we at parlous and ticklish times as a nation, with security arguably at all-time fragile levels (only surpassed by the Civil War) as gangrenous security challenges pervade the length and breadth of the nation in the forms of ravaging herdsmen militias, kidnapping, cattle rustling, IMN violent protests and the never-ending Boko Haram terrorism which till this moment the security agencies are yet to discover the unguents.

The last thing we need as a nation now is a fissure within our security apparatus; our security agencies more than ever before need to be more united and collaborative to commandeer the perpetrators of these malignant acts. “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. 🏚🏚

As a result of the brouhaha that transpired between the Police IRT and The Army at Takum, Taraba state a high-profile kidnap suspect apprehended by the IRT and being conveyed to the Taraba state command headquarters escaped in a manner analogous to the escape of Peter from Herod’s prison in the New Testament. This is just a tinge of how the obsolescence of cooperation within our security apparatus has mounted an encumbrance more brobdingnagian than the walls of Jericho to entering the ‘Promised Land’ of effective and proactive security that our nation is in dire need of.

This is not the first time something like this has happened and unless concrete steps are taken a repeat is inevitable. Hence, those that constitute the cranium of the Armed Forces should take holistic steps to forestall further blue on blue attacks/deaths. They should ensure communication gaps between the various security agencies are bridged especially among those on duty within restive regions as the Army has squarely blamed the attack on communication gap.

Most importantly, the findings of the Police/Army investigative panel setup by the Defence Headquarters on the orders of President Buhari and headed by Michael Ogbizi, DIG incharge of Criminal investigations should not be interred as is the lore with the reports of similar panels in time past.

The sacrifice of these heroes should not be in vain. Whosoever is found culpable in the course of the investigations should be brought to book. The flimsy circumstances surrounding the escape of Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, the millionaire kidnap kingpin arrested by the police and allegedly released by the Army should be punctiliously probed and those who have dipped their hands in murky waters be exposed and made to face the consequences.

In our Country we have an unmatched legerdemain for sanctimony, we find that words and actions always take parallel directions and very few actions back a deluge of words, we hope as patriotic Nigerians that this will be a sui generis that will birth and foster cohesion amongst all our security forces as “a house divided against itself cannot stand”

Kelechi Prosper Nwodo

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