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Nigeria among safest countries in the world, says Okiro

Posted by By MURPHY GANAGANA, Abuja on 2007/09/05 | Views: 2530 |

Nigeria among safest countries in the world, says Okiro


After three months on the saddle as chief crime fighter, acting Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, says Nigeria now ranks among the safest countries in the world if the prevalence of crime is used as determining variable of security.

After three months on the saddle as chief crime fighter, acting Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, says Nigeria now ranks among the safest countries in the world if the prevalence of crime is used as determining variable of security.

While noting that crime is a perennial problem which cannot be totally conquered, Okiro stated that the Nigeria Police Force has efficiently discharged its responsibility of sustaining high level security in the country through effective crime control.

"I wish to state unequivocally that Nigeria is a very safe and secure country. Nigeria ranks amongst the safest countries in the world, and even within thin group, we can proudly say that we are having a better situation," he declared on Tuesday in Abuja, at a press briefing to mark his 100 days in office.
He blamed the local media for the prevailing perception of insecurity in Nigeria , alleging that the press amplified some incidents out of proportion, especially cases involving personalities, thereby sending wrong signals outside the shores of the country.

Okiro, who admitted that robbery incidents and killings occasioned by socio-economic factors occur occasionally, he however, said these are isolated cases which, in most cases, are restricted to very few areas of the country.

"We acknowledge the fact that we have a very vibrant press in Nigeria enjoying maximum freedom in the practice of the profession. We do observe that occasionally and especially with cases involving personalities, the press seems to amplify such incidents out of proportion, thus exaggerating a feeling of insecurity in the country.

" Nigeria is no more insecure than any other country in the world using crime as the determining variable of security. The Nigeria police is up to the task of sustaining high level security in the country through effective crime control," he emphasized.

To buttress his position, Okiro reeled out a summary of armed robbery statistics recorded across the 36 state police commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the past three months of his assumption of office, disclosing that a total of 1,628 armed robbery suspects were arrested within the period under review.

He further said 785 armed robbers were killed in gun duels with the police, just as 1,582 arms, 6,514 ammunition and 242 stolen vehicles were recovered. These feats, according to him, were not achieved on a platter of gold, as 62 officers and men lost their lives in the line of duty in the past three months, while 472 cases related to these incidents have been charged to court.

The statistics also indicated that 30 suspects were nabbed for alleged involvement in kidnap cases at the FCT, Rivers, and Anambra states, the latest being the arrest of a six-man gang including 18-year-old Nneamaka Promise Ubani, a female undergraduate of the Ebonyi State University, who arranged fake kidnap to extort N6 million from her parents.

Unfolding his vision and mission as the nation’s number one cop, Okiro said he had set for himself, the task of revitalizing the Nigeria police for better services during his tenure as IGP. "My vision", he said, "is to bequeath to the country, a people’s police that is friendly in outlook, efficient in service delivery, and nurtured by a well motivated and dedicated workforce".

This, he said, became imperative as he assumed office at a time the level of insecurity seemed intolerable going by public outcry, a situation that propelled him initiate a holistic agenda aimed at bring officers and men back to the basic duty of guaranteeing maximum security in the country.

Commenting on corruption in the police force and some pending high profile incidents of assassination especially the case of former Attorney General and minister of Justice, late Chief Bola Ige, Okiro said there is nothing the police could do presently, unless there is fresh clues as to the real perpetrators of the dastardly act.

He also gave indication that the erstwhile commissioner of police in charge of budget, Mr. John Obaniyi, who is currently on suspension over an alleged N21 million deal would face appropriate charges in court as soon as departmental disciplinary measures have been taken against him by the Police Service Commission (PSC).

"You will recall that as at the time Tafa Balogun was arrested by the EFCC, he was already retired from service. In this particular case, the officer is still serving, but we’ve finished our investigations and sent it to the PSC, whose board has not been constituted. When it is constituted, by virtue of the powers of the PSC, that is to discipline officers among other responsibilities, so, if they come in and discipline him, then the next stage of action would be taken by the police," he said.

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