Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, is the Delta State Commissioner of Police whose efforts speak volumes about crime fighting. Though the state has been confronted with high rate of insecurity, especially kidnap activities, but the no-nonsense commissioner of police with a wealth of experience has vowed to make criminality a history in Delta. Aduba in this interview with KOLA NIYI-EKE, speaks about his efforts and mobilizing strategies to end criminality in the state.
Sir, the problem of insecurity in Delta has assumed an alarming rate; how do you intend to handle the challenges?
Well, one thing you have to understand is that Delta State is a flashpoint. So many challenges, ranging from different vices as cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, restiveness and other? things. I would say that it has been really tough in the state and, as far as I am concerned, we are doing our best; for several months now, we have been able to round up over 200 armed-robbers and kidnappers. We have been able to rescue more than 40 kidnapped person.
There is security problems all over but, as far as I am concerned, when it comes to security, Delta State is the best; all activities are on. If you go round, you would discover that the banks are operating, markets are working, and there is night life in Warri.
Talk of Asaba, Nnebisi road in the night, you see people enjoying themselves these are signs showing that our men are working and we have a 24-hour patrol.
How is your working relationship with a view to combating crimes like?
I have to be very frank with you; the Nigeria Police Force is a federal establishment. But you discover that without the state, you would have lots of problems. The government has been supporting both in finance and in terms of logistics; walkie-talkies and patrol vans.
We are connecting with the communities because if you don’t connect with them, we are in a problem, that’s why the issue of vigilance group came up, we are doing some paper works and have made some suggestions to the state government and I am sure within the shortest possible time, it would be implemented.
In Asaba, the vigilance is working; same in Warri and Ughelli. There are a lot of collaborations, and then you talk about other sister organizations, and hiccups here and there, but, to a large extent, we are cooperating freely with the military and the SSS.
There was even a time we organized joint team and the military participated and we raided some black spots in Asaba. I mean over here there is synergy.
Do you have the same synergy between the police and the traditional rulers/institutions?
Since my arrival, I have been able to go round the three main axis; the main traditional rulers like the Asagba of Asaba here in Asaba. I have also had my own experience; a traditional ruler is supposed to be in charge and in control, but I discovered here there is a kind of weakness, that is the way I look at it and I don’t want to bring in sentiments but am telling you that any community that allows kidnapping to persist, one way or the other, it is a sign of weakness that simply shows the traditional rulers are not in control; how can somebody enter a community and pick up a person, and everybody keeps sealed lips? Such traditional rulers are supposed to be sanctioned.
But some people would view it wrong that way, they would not be happy, they would say why are you recommending sanction for our traditional leaders. If you cannot control your community, there is a problem, there is a lacuna, if they allow kidnapping to persist in their communities as far as I am concerned.
Like the other time, we went to the Asagba of Asaba they were not happy that somebody went to the bank, without following due process; the patrol vehicle was not use. He uses his own private vehicle and, at the end of the day, when he came out from the bank, behold some hoodlums were waiting; how did it leak? Even in the case of kidnapping, we have discovered that insiders are part of the problem.
The newly invigorated Special Squad went after them into Anvia forest and four of them were caught. So, what we are trying to say is that security is everybody’s business, not a question of leaving it for the police. We need your cooperation, you have to cooperate, bring the information to me or any senior officer, we are all reliable. I have been working with this vigilante, we meet these vigilantes, ask them questions, interview them and, like I said, some of them are good. I have been compensating them. We support them, one way or the other.
On the vigilante issue, some of the traditional rulers are complaining that they don’t really have effective control of the vigilante groups in their territories how far is that true?
Vigilantes, these are people from your community, we cannot impose them. At least, the communities should be able to have a central vigilante that would take care of the whole community, not concentrating on the monarch. We are not imposing; communities come
out with their vigilantes. So, if they are having a problem, that is the weakness we are talking about.
What is your take as in regard to government paying vigilante?
You need to see my recommendations we passe to the government; we have made the recommendations to the governor; we will have them at the community level which the local government will take care of, at the state level, which the State government would take care of the 25 local government and their coordinators; even myself is supposed to be answerable to somebody, who, in turn would be answerable to the governor. So, we are working it out and it is supposed to be a kind of induction course for two weeks, if approval is given.
Talking about the scrapping of check points some persons are against it, because it gives them some sense of security; now that they are no longer there what other measures do you put in place?
You see, I am happy the check points, are a thing of the past. There are some strategic areas where our vehicles are stationed.
If you travel from here to Benin, you see our vehicles at strategic areas, we have given out our distress call numbers when you are in problem. We have our control room, our walkie-talkie works, so, if there is any problem, you let us know when you give us such information, we work on it and then we now ask our men to take over.
What is your command doing about the issue of marine police, piracy including bunkering?
The marine police are doing a good job; we have them in Warri and the patrol is on. If you go to Warri, you would see them and we are partnering with the Navy.
Kidnapping has been one major problems facing Deltans in the recent times and you have constituted a kidnap committee; how has it been within this short period?
We had problems before with the first ant-kidnapping unit, headed by Dickson. Investigation was carried out as directed by the Inspector-General of Police and he was cleared and later transferred out of the state. Myself, on arrival here, I made use of Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), and Counter Terrorism Unit. As at now, I have decided to merge them. I don’t want to state the number, we give them three weeks intensive training, and we have tried them on their first assignment.
The one that happened few days ago, the battle in Anwai forest, I wished you had time to meet those people, so that you interview them; it was a real battle. They came to pick a woman, but did not succeed; we went after them at the end of the day we were able to pick them.
You see, kidnapping, that foreign, it is very strange and most of the time, I discover that most of these people are undergraduates in the universities. It is shocking, even in robberies, you see students who are cultists these didn’t happen during our time and I think their parents would have to check them.
Delta state is a leading oil-producing state and there are normally conflicts between host-communities and the oil-prospecting companies. Most times, we have situations where the youths revolt against traditional rulers, accusing them of taking money from the oil companies.
What strategy is your command putting in place to resolve such conflicts?
Let me tell you; we are straight forward in the state. Due process must be followed. Oil was discovered in your community (I don’t want to mention community) then you say, you have a powerful head, we would go after you.
It happened in so many communities; Abavo community is there; the self-acclaimed, Monarch where is he today/ he is on the run, in Uzere, we are digging it out.