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Haman Tidjani: Heads will roll in Nigeria, Vows IG

Posted by Haman Tidjani: Heads will roll in Nigeria, Vows IG on 2004/07/16 | Views: 671 |

Haman Tidjani: Heads will roll in Nigeria, Vows IG

NSPECTOR General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun at the weekend confirmed that arrested Benin Republic-based armed robbery suspect, Hamani Tidjani has named some prominent Nigerians as his collaborators in his trans-border escapades.

NSPECTOR General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun at the weekend confirmed that arrested Benin Republic-based armed robbery suspect, Hamani Tidjani has named some prominent Nigerians as his collaborators in his trans-border escapades.

Balogun, however, promised that even as police probe of the activities of the suspect continued, those he had fingered as collaborators would not escape the law.

The Inspector General told The Guardian that: "He (Tidjani) has indicted quite a good number of people in the Republic of Benin, including top government officials, military and police officers, who are in the top hierarchy of the security services. That explained why the Beninoise President sacked 13 officers in the military and police."

The police top shot's revelation came even as Benin Republic continues to mourn last August closure of the border against her by Nigeria following reluctance to check infiltration of robbers into Nigeria.

Balogun, who declined to name the Nigerians indicted by Tidjani said: "In Nigeria, some other people have been named by him (Tidjani) in the course of the ongoing investigation.

"But we cannot mention anyone now. We will wait till when the investigation is concluded and the matter taken to court before we expose the whole thing. At this stage, it is too premature to let the public know all the details."

Emphasising that the police was ready to battle the scourge of cross-border crimes, Balogun stated that Tidjani would soon be prosecuted.

"Hamani Tidjani, a criminal receiver and Nigerien national domiciled in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, upon his arrest has made useful confession to us. He voluntarily confessed being a criminal receiver of robbed vehicles from Nigeria and France.

"His rigorous interrogation has led to the identification of about 37 armed robbers in Nigeria and Republic of Benin, arrest of over 20 of them and recovery of over 100 exotic cars snatched from Nigeria," he said.

He called on Nigerians to help the police in crime prevention for, to combat crimes effectively in Nigeria, adding that, "the police will have to rely on members of the public for information. A lot of what the police do has to do with information."

"When Hamani Tidjani phenomenon occurred, we did an in-house research to find out what most of our problem was. So when attempt to arrest Tidjani and other criminals in his gang did not succeed it led to the closure of the borders."

However, months after the Federal Government ordered the closure of Nigeria's border with Republic of Benin on August 8, 2003, top officials of the country are still lamenting the action of the Nigerian government.

Kolawole Idji, former Beninoise Foreign Affairs Minister and current President of the country's Unicameral Legislative Chamber has described the decision as extreme and incapable of fostering regional integration.

"I think everybody today is aware that integration in Africa and integration in West Africa, our sub-region, is a must. But why is it that when we make resolutions and when we get back home we forget them, we do not implement them?

"There are many, many examples that I can show of this. And we need to integrate, we need to work more quickly, we need to bring together our economy, we need to bring together our administration, to work together, really," he said.

Idji, who was in Lagos for the public presentation the book, 'Boundaries And Integration: Essays In Comparative History And Policy Analysis' by Professor Anthony Asiwaju; decried the artificial border foisted on a people of common origin by the colonialists.

He said: "What difference is there between a Nigerian and a Beninoise, really? What difference do you have between a person from Niger Republic and one from Nigeria? We speak the same language, we have the same problem, but we do not really integrate."

Idji, a first cousin of Professor Asiwaju, said: "Sometimes it is because the political will is not there. Sometimes it is the external influences - we belong to different colonialists. We now need to urgently belong to an African community."

He contended that there was no need for new laws on trans-border criminality as, according to him, "the need is for administrations on both sides to work together and to do better. And that's why the two Heads of States met, and they are working very hard now. I think there is a new consciousness that cross-border criminality should be fought as well in Nigeria as in Benin."

He denied that it took the authorities of the Republic of Benin a long time to react to issues of security on its border as indicated by President Obasanjo.

"No! It did not take a long time to do that. You know that Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria belong to a common security community and they deal with criminality, can I say, everyday. And this particular case, things did not work out very well. I think this was what happened. This can happen anywhere," he argued.

On if it must take the closure of the border and the insistence of President Obasanjo on handing over for prosecution the suspected criminal, Hamani Tidjani, before the Republic of Benin acted, Idji said:

"Well, the closure of the border is helpful because, as I said, in the particular case, something did not work very well. That is why the administration in charge of security on our side - I don't know what the case is on their side here (in Nigeria) - but on our side the administration did not really completely do the work they were there to do, so that's why."

He declined comments on the situation of things in Benin, in terms of cross-border security because he is not in a position to do so.

"I am not the Minister of Interior of Benin, I am only the President of National Assembly. I am sure the President of Nigeria is not pleased with the closure of the border. We are not pleased with the closure of the border either. I think what we need today, for instance, is integration.

"If a state is forced to close its border it means that something is not working very well, you will agree with me. It is an extreme case (the closure), do not emphasis too much on the extreme case. Our borders usually work very, very well.

"The relationship between Nigeria and Benin works very well. It is not because this happened one time, or some day, that we should throw emphasis on what did not work very well," Idji

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