A Stakeholder engagement session has been held on the security situation in the Northern Region.
The engagement, which took place on Thursday, offered the Police the opportunity to brief the stakeholders on investigations conducted into some of the incidents that have triggered violence in the region, including the recent Lamashegu shooting incident.
Presenting the reports on the various investigations, the Northern Regional Police Commander, COP Timothy Yosa Bonga said, the Inspector General of Police sent a powerful investigative team to investigate the criminal aspect of the Lamashegu incident.
He added that a team of ballistic and crime scene experts were also in the area to conduct investigations.
COP Bonga noted that professional standard officers were also sent to investigate the professional conduct of the officers.
On the Gbewa Palace incident, where some Police officers entered the Palace to forcefully remove a driver who had sought refuge there and assaulted him, COP Bonga added that investigations are complete with just the final service enquiry yet to be done.
On the Nakpanzoo assault case, in which Police officers brutalized the residents for illegally stealing power, the Regional Police Commander said investigations have been completed and the docket forwarded to the Police Headquarters awaiting the outcome.
With the Changi Police assault, he said the matter is before CHRAJ and they are waiting for the verdict.
He said all the officers are still on interdiction, thus are not receiving full salary. COP Bonga said the Police are human too and not perfect, therefore when there are excesses in the line of duty, the public should report to the top hierarchy for investigations to be conducted and not take the laws into their own hands.
COP Bonga also raised concerns over attacks on officers, citing the Kumbungu shooting incident where a Policewoman was killed and the Changli incident where a Policewoman was beaten to a pulp because she had gone to arrest a suspect.
The General Officer Commanding the Northern Command, Brigadier General Moses Mohammed Aryee, called on the people of the region to refrain from acts that will open up the area for terrorists to infiltrate.
“There is a fear of the likelihood of violent extremists coming into our country. Every now and then, we have to take measures to make sure they don’t get in, but you know it’s very easy for them to get into our country when we are in crisis and you lose concentration. So, if we are in crisis they can come in and take advantage of the situation,” he said.
Brigadier General Aryee said, normally it is the criminals who lead the protest to attack the Police just so that if they (Police) are unable to do their work, it opens up the system for them to conduct their activities.
“Today, Police is not able to do their jobs and how many cars have been snatched? They want to take advantage of this,“ he said.
He appealed to the youth to avoid taking the law into their own hands whenever there is an accident.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Saani Alhassan Shaibu urged residents to be responsible in their conduct towards the Police.
He said if they are made to feel threatened, then they will have no option other than to recoil, leaving the residents to their faith, something he said should not be allowed to happen.
“For the past two weeks, there hasn’t been any Police visibility in the night, because the Police are human beings and they also have a life to live. They fear for their lives, I stand with them. Until we correct this perception, we have created in our minds about policing, we are not going to get anywhere,“ he said.
On the use of social media to verbally abuse people, the Minister said parents must be responsible and correct these ills when their children misconduct themselves.
“Social media is supposed to promote peace and tranquility and help in development, but social media is rather destroying us as a people. Is that the way we choose to develop ourselves,” he questioned.
He urged all to be law-abiding, adding that there is the need for the GNAT to support in the grooming of children in the country.
The stakeholders agreed that the current situation has resulted from indiscipline, political and traditional interference in the work of the security forces, frosty relationship with the Police and lack of trust in the entire Police institution, among others.