You are always in the news arresting suspects and charging them to court. Can you tell us what your motivation is?
Fighting crime is one of our cardinal mandates as officers of the Nigeria Police Force and since we signed to do that job, we try to do it diligently by following the rule of law. You know we are in a democratic dispensation, if anyone tramples on anybody’s human right alarms will be raised. So, we try to do everything under the ambit of the law.
Are suspects treated fairly when you arrest them?
All the rights of suspects have been spelt out and we give them their rights. When we make arrest and the suspect says he cannot write the statement until he sees his lawyer, we allow him to call his lawyer and in the presence of his lawyer, we interrogate him.
Then after taking his statement, we write a detention order, that is the order that authorises us to keep them in our custody. Our cell is always neat and it is not overcrowded. We always have less than 30 people and each cell does not have more than 10 people because of the capacity.
What’s the normal capacity?
In Gwarinpa division, we have about three cells and under normal circumstances we do not exceed five people in each of the three cells. Sometimes you see three people per cell and not more than 10 people in the detention facility. Even during raids, when we get so many suspects, we interview them one after the other and those with ID cards and those who can explain why they were there and can convince us that they are not criminals, we will release them to sureties immediately after the arrest.
But those who cannot give account of themselves and their means of livelihood and we suspect them to be criminals, we keep them in our custody for investigation. If we do not find them wanting, we release them to reliable sureties with warning to desist from patronising black spots. Those we get evidence to prosecute, we charge them to court.
What are the challenges peculiar to policing Gwarinpa?
The challenges are scavengers who sometimes will move about in the night going from one dustbin to another but they aid criminals. Sometimes when thieves steal electronics, they put them in the carts and they put refuse on it and if you are not very watchful, you will not know that there are stolen items beneath the heap of refuse. We have arrested many with that and we have banned their movement from 6:30p.m. to daybreak. If they want to evacuate dustbins they should do it in the day time. Some hide laptops, plasma TVs and if there is no light when they enter a house and the generator is on they will disconnect it and carry it. The person that will assist them is the scavenger. We arrested about two of them.
How do you handle pressure, especially from politicians and highly placed individuals in Gwarinpa?
We have so many VIPs here, about four minsters are living here, eight retired DIGs are also here; about 11 AIGs are living close to me and when an issue comes up, even if I don’t relay it to my headquarters, they hear it. That is why when anything happens we act quickly, make arrest and take it to headquarters.
Just last week, I had a meeting with Community Safety Foundation of Gwarinpa stakeholders pertaining security. I summarised all the achievements such as arrests, recoveries we have made from January to date and all of them appreciated my effort of bringing crime to the barest minimum in Gwarinpa. I asked them to assist in overcoming challenges like logistics, maintaining the patrol vehicles and I have an added advantage of housing those DIGs. During their time, they became instrumental in deploying more patrol vehicles in Gwarinpa. I’m having about nine functional patrol vehicles, Maitama, Asokoro, are having just two each. Wuse has just one so by virtue of these retired police officers, they deployed many patrol vans to us. We have six that are serviceable.
In the night, I use to sectionalise Gwarinpa into nine sections, each section has a patrol vehicle that will man it. Any distress call from any place, a vehicle will answer the call and respond promptly and make arrest.
Recently, someone was robbed with the aid of his former staff. The guard connived with two people and they went to the man’s house but he was not at home. The security guard opened the door for them and they sat and waited for the oga. After 12:00a.m. the house owner returned and the hoodlums pointed a toy gun at him asking for money. They took his car and his mobile phone. Immediately they left, he made a distress call and four of our patrol vehicles moved in but before they got to his house the robbers had left.
He gave me the particulars of the car and I called the DPO in Mararaba, Kwali, Tafa and Kaduna and told them about the car. As God will have it, the following morning when they were about to reach Kaduna, the police there arrested one of the suspects and he said the third one was living within the victim’s house. The one they arrested with the vehicle described where I can get the third person.