The Kogi State Command of the Nigerian Police on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 paraded six young men suspected to have murdered the Woman Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs. Salome Abuh, after the violent governorship elections in Ochadamu, Ofu Local Government Area of the State.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeen Busari, disclosed the identities of the suspects as Ocholi Edicha (gang leader), Adamu Haruna, Egbunu, Musa Alidu, Attai Haruna and Attah Ejeh. They had allegedly set Mrs. Abuh’s residence ablaze and prevented her from escaping.
Following the outrage that trailed this heinous murder, President Muhammadu Buhari had given orders for the perpetrators to be apprehended. According to Mr. Busari while parading them: “The suspects further confessed that they were responsible for the series of armed robbery incidents at Ochadamu and environs”.
For us, the parading will remain a non-event unless it is accompanied by firm and diligent prosecution to ensure the perpetrators of this heartless crime are brought to justice. The Police, as an institution, never showed enough concern about the woeful failure of security during elections in Bayelsa and Kogi which cost the taxpayers dearly.
Police authorities had announced the deployment of 60,241 personnel (over 31,000 for Bayelsa and 35,000 for Kogi). The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, had admitted that the Force was aware of the volatile nature of elections in both states but assured the readiness of the Police and other security agencies to protect the vote.
But after the election which turned out more of a war than a peaceful democratic exercise, IGP Adamu shocked Nigerians when he alleged that “fake policemen” or political thugs overpowered his men during the elections.
It took more than one week after the murder of Mrs. Abuh before the police roused to action following Buhari’s directive. This lackadaisical attitude to their own failure does not inspire Nigerians to believe that the police are prepared to conclusively bring the culprits to justice. We hope the police will prove their critics wrong.
The remarkable thing about Mrs. Abuh’s murder is that while the police seemed unwilling to do its duties, the victim’s relations made it clear that the perpetrators were “very well known in the community”. The suspects’ alleged confession to the crime seems to support this assertion.
It also confirms that the electoral process has been outsourced to violent criminals in our society to decide those who lead us while the police and security agencies fold their arms. It is a shame.
The only way the police can salvage something for their image in this ugly saga is to honour Buhari’s directive and the expectations of Nigerians by ensuring the course of justice is served.