From Reformer News
…Police Caught Napping
What are the police in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt doing? Why do robbers still operate under their nose unhindered? How competent is the DPO? These are questions by residents of the area.
The Diobu area in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State has been under the siege of robbers for some time now with residents living under fears as hoodlums operate without checks, traumatizing people right before the nose of a police station – the Diobu Mile 1 Division.
Recounting their ordeals, residents disclosed that Banks, media houses, business premises and living homes are under serious threats.
Men of the underworld also invaded a plaza at Benin street in the same area carting away the sum of N15million belonging to one Alhaji Liman and killing an employee in the plaza. Both the residents and victims were pounded by the robbers. This plaza was attacked twice last year.
Eyewitnesses further told us that armed men at about 2:20pm in the afternoon of October 17, 2011 also attacked the Diamond Bank along Ikwerre road (just about 4 poles to the Mile 1 Diobu Police Division and close to the Vanguard Newspaper office). They killed a mobile policeman on escort duty and one Chamberlain Ubani a staff of the company and collected about N26million from the hilux vehicle.
A Journalist with the Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. George Onah later died from the shock. Those who spoke to us said policemen at the Mile 1 Division could not respond to the intensive gunshots by the robbers. The DPO was in the office but could not quickly mobilize against the rampaging bandits. “They went under cover when the robbery was going on, only for the police to surface 30 minutes later with an armored vehicle, posing and molesting hapless citizens who were doing their legitimate business”, a resident said, regretting that women are raped daily and travelers at the Abali park harassed daily.
At the Abonnema Wharf road, close to the Silver Bird Cinema, our checks revealed that many persons have been attacked by robbers, among several harrowing experiences and the Mile 1 Division has been unable to grabble with it.
The Diobu area, residents lament, has been a flash point of robbery attacks in recent times with the police at the division always caught napping.
Our investigation confirmed that the GTB Bank on Ikwerre road was similarly attacked and the dare-devils snatched N2million from a businessman – Mr. Abubakar Garba, regretting that till this moment no arrests have been made.
What is worrisome, this medium was briefed, is that most of the robbery incidents occur in broad day light. At No 17 Gambia street, a victim Mr. Shehu Ahmed lost the sum of N3million to robbery when his home was raided.
The Divisional Police Officer in Mile 1 Diobu Division, Mr. Anthony Adeji, feelers suggest, may have lost grip and the alertness to face this litany of robbery attacks.
It is alleged that this superintendent of police who hails from Benue State may have been off-guard which the miscreants cash on to operate.
Tongues are wagging about the social life of the DPO, with questions begging for answers if the police chief relishes in alcohol and mingles with many women hence distracted from his duties.
On Monday June 18, 2012, the Nsukka Street office of the Nation Newspaper- a close neighbour to the mile 1 police station, robbers had a field day.
They raided the Newspaper office carting away N500,000 and other valuables. The sales officer Daniel Olawumi, lost his laptop, a phone and a leather bag containing vital documents. Other staff of the Newspaper house also lost valuables.
The robbery, some victims told us occurred at about 11am, when distributors, who came for payment were held at gun point.
“We were made to lie on top of each other. They searched us and made away with the day’s sales. “All the distributors and visitors to the office were robbed. They locked us inside the office and made away with the keys”.
Informed sources lamented what they described as the unserious attitude exhibited by the police at the mile 1 Division, pointing out that the Division needs a thorough overhaul if the battle against these bandits must be won.
They called on the state police commissioner to investigate the attitude of the DPO towards security. Hints suggest that some DPOs hire out police personnel to companies who pay them handsomely at the end of the month, while their area stand at the mercy of hoodlums and wondered if he belongs to such.
A security analyst Barr Chudi Okpara told us that when an environment comes under severe invasion by robbers, the clear thing to do is a mass transfer of the police chiefs there and inject fresh blood.
This, he reasoned will check indolence and compromise since due to their long stay there may have been soiled. He gave instance of the infamous robbery kingpin Lawrence Anini saga in Benin.
He called on the police high command to keep the Diobu Mile 1 division under close surveillance.
When we called the DPO of Mile 1 Division, Mr Anthony Adeji on 08037189341, he denied all the allegations, stressing that his division is doing very well, and that robbers are on the run.