Police to discipline officer who accused army of conniving with kidnappers in Abia

The Nigeria Police Force says disciplinary procedures will be instituted against a chief superintendent of police for accusing the Nigerian Army of conniving with “herdsmen” to kidnap residents of Abia community. 

On Wednesday, a video, where a police officer was addressing a gathering of people and attributing kidnapping in Isuochi community in Abia to activities of herdsmen, appeared on social media.

The officer who identified himself as CSP Johnbull accused the Nigerian Army of not assisting the community to arrest the kidnappers.

“My name is CSP Johnbull, commander Rapid Response Squad, Abia state police command. I was sent here by the commissioner of police two days ago to come and assist the people of Isuochi to do away with all these kidnappers, the Fulanis, who are kidnapping our people,” the officer said.

“Our people who are coming home, they are kidnapping them. We are not happy about it.

“Yesterday night, I sent my men to the Garki cattle market. They (referring to kidnappers) go there to spend money after kidnapping our people, they will collect ransom they will go and spend it there (cattle market) The army is not helping us…”

Reacting to the video, Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, in a statement on Wednesday, said the “unprofessional and unguarded” utterances of the officer do not represent the principles and ideals of the force.

“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to a video making the rounds in some sections of the media where a chief superintendent of police of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), attached to the Abia state police command, while on special duty at Umunneochi L.G.A of the state following the kidnap of some members of the community on Sunday 29th May, 2022, was seen addressing a crowd in an unapproved and unprofessional manner by attacking a particular ethnic group and casting aspersions on other security agencies,” he said.

“It is pertinent to state that the officer was at the location to carry out a rescue operation led by an assistant commissioner of police.

“He had no locus standi to address the press or any group of persons, as such is the sole responsibility of the commissioner of police, and the police public relations officer, or at least his superior in rank who was also at the scene.

“The inspector-general of police acknowledges and will continually appreciate the robust synergy enjoyed over time from the military and other security agencies in maintaining internal security, even as he assured that the erring officer will face the disciplinary procedures of the force for his unguarded indiscretions.”

youths in Isuochi community, Umunneochi LGA of Abia issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal and state governments to relocate the cattle market and remove all military checkpoints in the area.

The protesters attributed incessant kidnappings in the community to the activities of herdsmen.

The protest took place days after Samuel Uche, prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, was kidnapped along Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway in Umunneochi LGA.

The cleric was, subsequently, released 24 hours later after the payment of N100 ransom.

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