Police officers stationed in the South-East states of Imo, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu are reportedly deserting their posts and preferring to wear mufti the few occasions they are on duty.
According to SaharaReporters, it is also becoming more difficult for police officers to apprehend suspects in neighbourhoods or detain their suspects in cells, as is customary before cases are charged in court.
According to reports, most police officers, especially those who are not Igbo indigenes, are urgently seeking redeployment due to the ongoing attacks by “unknown gunmen.”
On April 19, SaharaReporters announced that most police officers in Abia wear mufti after heavily armed men attacked the Uzuakoli Police Station in the Bende Local Government Area, as part of a series of attacks on other stations.
“The only police stations that have opened are those in the heart of metropolitan cities, near to other government offices and establishments. This is the position we find ourselves in. We are unable to patrol rural areas. Our men have escaped. It is expected because the situation is deteriorating and the federal government’s power appears to be dwindling,” a source said.
According to the Daily Trust, the withdrawal of checkpoints in the South-East states coincided with the absence of police officers from stations.
There is no security checkpoint on any of the roads leading from Garki in Enugu South Local Government Area to Camp in Enugu North, and from the New Market via Trade Fair Complex areas in Trans-Ekulu to Nike Lake Hotel in Enugu East Local Government Area – all within the state capital.
This is in contrast to the past, when security checkpoints were set up to conduct stop-and-search operations on vehicles.
The streets and roads of Enugu, the state capital, are devoid of uniformed police officers and the regular security checkpoints. This is not unrelated to the increase in violent attacks on security personnel and formations in the region.
It was also noticed that police officers are no longer able to walk about in their uniforms.
“The fear of being attacked by unknown armed men is the beginning of wisdom now,” a female police officer explained.
The same scenario was observed in Aba, Abia State’s commercial centre, where most checkpoints had been abandoned due to a lack of manpower to man them.
“I can confirm that there are no checkpoints in Aba again,” a resident who did not want to be identified said. The police officers have all deserted in fear of being killed by unknown gunmen. Police officers are no longer patrolling.”
Military checkpoints are often abandoned, especially late at night.
Meanwhile, residents of Aba have expressed concern about the rapid rise in the number of youths participating in cult-related activities.
According to the findings, some common areas are now dominated by cultists who rule supreme with little or no opposition from security personnel.
Supreme Vikings control Ogbor-Hill; Aro-Baga controls Over-Rail; Aiye controls Osisioma; and Aro-Baga controls Ndiegoro, among other regions.
A police sergeant, who initially expressed concern when speaking with our reporter, said that security personnel are no longer secure in the state.
“Why do they kill and threaten us? We do this job with trepidation. We’re not sure if we’ll make it home alive after leaving the house in the morning. Most of the officers killed have young children; who will look after them? ” he inquired.
“If I didn’t have the connection, I would have moved my family out of here. “I have to relocate my family out of Aba due to the possibility of attacks,” he said.
Meanwhile, at least seven Imo State police officers are facing an orderly room tribunal for deserting their posts.
Following a series of attacks on security personnel by alleged members of the Eastern Security Network, the armed arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra, there are clear reports that police officers attached to the Imo State Police Command are reportedly trying to be redeployed out of the state.
Some of the officers are seeking assistance from current and former senior police officers, as well as political godfathers.
According to investigations, the officers want to be assigned to investigative units such as the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit, and the Special Squad.
It was also learned that the affected workers are already meeting with contacts both inside and outside the state and are willing to pay for their prayers to be answered.
While some senior officers agree that the officers should stay in the state to combat insecurity, others have already contacted the police high command to facilitate the deployment.
Some of the officers’ requests were also motivated by the need to be reunited with members of their families.