8th October, 2021
Edo State has been in the eye of the storm of insecurity, especially kidnapping and voliolent armed robbery. The narratives have however changed for the better in recent times. The State Commissioner of Police, Philip Aliyu Ogbadu, tells our correspondent, JETHRO IBILEKE, what has been responsible for the success.
How has the business of policing the state been going?
We have been policing the state from January to August and we have been seeing the fruit of our labour. Security is a project that is being reviewed on a daily basis, because it is not static. Criminals themselves are dynamic, and so, in our approach to security issues, we are dynamic. If it happens here today, happens there tomorrow, and you start off there today, don’t think that it may continue there, it may shift forward. It is just like somebody who is doing a research, you have to continually develop.
That’s how we have been in Edo state. Edo people are intelligent, they are sharp, they are wise, they are fast. Unfortunately, some of them employ these qualities negatively. And, to meet up, you have to develop also to that capacity. The people are good, they are hard-working, they are industrious. Likewise, for every society that is deviant, there are some that do it in a negative way, that is why our name has come up in so many places, but you can see that when you talk about crime in Nigeria, we are no longer on the front line because, we have been able to cover our areas properly and to God’s glory, God is helping us, the government is supportive, the Nigerian police force is very, very supportive. The Inspector-General of Police is solidly behind our performances and he is helping us, we have the morale boost from the Force headquarters. These things are adding to our impetus, they make us strong when we are performing.
What has been the magic wand for your recent successes?
The magic is that we don’t give up and we don’t give in. Just as I told you, you have to develop on a continuous basis in the way you continue to develop your crime preventive measures. Prevention is not only better than cure, it’s cheeper than cure, it’s safer than cure, it’s easier than cure. That is why we are taking the preventive measures so that we will not have the effects of the happenings.
Kidnapping spreads along the roads, the towns spread information and we try to do what we call mapping. We map out areas and we try to locate where these things are prevelent. Each community has a crime that is prevalent in the area; we try to identify what type of crime happens in each area, when it happens, the group of people that commit the crime, how do they do it, when they do it, the sources of their escape, how they dispose their loots.
We put all these into consideration, and Edo State Government has been a source of security strategy assisting us. They have the vigilantes, they have the hunters, they have the farmers in the rural areas.
You know, if you kidnap and keep your victim in town, it is easier to get you, but when you kidnap and take your victims to the forest, we need the activities of the farmers to be able to know the location. Even if we know the location, we need to know how to access these places. So, these people are useful to us and they are very cooperative. When you work with the people, you will get the result, we don’t work in isolation, let the people have a part to play in what you’re doing, then, your sacrifice will become meaningful.
How’s your relationship with other security agencies and local stakeholders?
We have a very cordial relationship. Just yesterday we join the military at Ehor for their annual operations. We share with them, information and they also take part in what is happening. The other security agencies, we share information with them, both the intelligent unit and other information. That is how we work, both on official and out-of-office level.
What are you doing to boost the morale of your operatives?
Morale can be in many ways; it can be a golden hand shake, it can be going to the field at times to encourage them, it can be giving them letters of commendation, it can be giving them meals or other forms of remuneration. All these we employ.
Just last week, we had an operation with our counterparts in Delta State along our boundaries at Agbor, Ewohinmi, Igbanke and all those areas. We provided them with some necessities, even if it is one meal, dry ration and all those things. That is part of the encouragement.
One good thing is that when you take joy in what you’re doing, you derive encouragement. If your destiny is to save lives in the security system, but you find yourself as a pilot, you have not fulfilled your destiny; if your destiny is to pray for people but you find yourself as a footballer, you have not fulfilled your destiny. So, we try to identify those whose destiny is to save lives and we give them the morale, we encourage them, we give them what they need to succeed. That is what we are doing in Edo State.