Police launch ‘Operation Puff Adder’ in Imo State
• Experts lament unbridled brutality in Southeast
Imo State Police Commissioner, CP Rabiu Ladodo, has officially launched the police tactical operation codenamed ‘Operation Puff Adder’ in the state.
In his address during the event held at the command headquarters in Owerri, yesterday, the CP disclosed that the exercise was initiated by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, on April 5, 2019 due to incessant kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes.He said that the launch in the state followed the IGP’s directive to zones and state commands, to eradicate such crimes across the country.
The CP used the opportunity to urge all commanders of the operation in the state, including area commanders, divisional police officers and tactical team commanders, to be very professional in their duties.His words: “I charge you to puff up and swallow, ambush and, in most cases, strike out all criminals that you come across, as there is no place for criminals in this state. However, you must ensure that the conduct of men deployed must conform to rules of engagement.”
Ladodo also advised parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to avoid crime.While assuring that the operation would “usher in a safer and more secured Imo where economic activities will thrive”, he requested the understanding and cooperation of the public.
Meanwhile, Justice Eunice Aguomba (rtd.) and Southeast zonal coordinator, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Uche Nwokocha, have raised the alarm over the rising cases of police brutality, abuses, extortion and extra judicial-killings in the Southeast.
They also noted that indiscriminate police check points on Southeast roads not only impeded free flow of traffic but also caused avoidable accidents. The duo stated this at a public hearing on ‘Police Brutally, Corruption and Abuse in Southern Nigeria’ organised by Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) Foundation, with support from Trust Africa, in Owerri.
According to Nwokocha, NHRC is doing its best, in partnership with some relevant government agencies and Amnesty International, to contain the excesses of the police.According to the national coordinator of NOPRIN, Okechukwu Nwanguma, extra-judicial killing by the police in Nigeria has assumed epidemic proportion.He noted that between November 2018 and April 2019, the body documented not less than 15 cases of police killings across the country from reckless abuse of firearms.