Dutse — Mr Theophilus Kayode is the Jigawa State Commissioner of Police. In this interview, he told Sunday Trust his effort in crime fighting and prevention in the since he took over 10 months ago. He said community policing is his biggest strategy. Excerpts:
Three months ago some armed robbers bombed a bank and set a police station on fire in Gwaram local government. Have you apprehended those behind that crime?
We are still on their trail. Through the hotel booking we get from the hoteliers, we were able to zero down on two men we are trailing right now. Every Friday, my Divisional Police Officers close to Dutse bring to me the list of people who lodge in hotels for us to analyse. In the case of Gwaram, we got a lead from those who booked a hotel three days to the attack and one day after. We gathered that two of those who lodged came to the receptionist and asked them the location of the bank and the police station in Gwaram. We are closing in on them and all my men are involved in gathering intelligence on the matter.
What is your take on corruption in the Nigeria Police?
We are addressing the issue of corruption squarely in Jigawa. Bail is free and I have warned my DPOs not collect money to bail anyone because I regard bail money as blood money. I have officers that are monitoring my DPOs in all the 27 local governments in the . If any of my DPOs collect money or use an officer to collect bribe, I will be quickly notified. I have removed three DPOs because of corruption. I have told all the stakeholders in Jigawa that any officer who demands for money from them they should call me. Some of us have a name to protect. By the time you retire, you are still going to meet the same people you are collecting bribe from. The public will only respect us if we are upright. You remember that even recently the IGP launched the Police Code of Conduct. The IGP has zero tolerance for corruption. That is why even road blocks were disbanded by the IGP. I have warned my officers that anyone caught on corruption charges will not be spared. I have a monitoring team that goes for on the spot assessment on officers and men on duty.
Have you received any assistance from the state government in order to enhance your operation in the state?
Yes. The state government has been giving us all the necessary cooperation and we are grateful to Governor Sule Lamido for all his effort in ensuring crime-free Jigawa. The government is paying the allowances of all our men who patrol all the major markets in the state every market day in order to maintain law and order. The state has also paid the filling station across the state to ensure that all our patrol vehicles in all the 27 local governments have fuel at their disposal at all time. The governor promised us some patrol vehicles and Jigawa ALGON is planning to assist us with 50 motorcycles.
As someone who established the Police Computer Department, can you tell us the capacity of the police force to fight crime using computer as a tool?
When we establish the Police Computer Department in 1984, we did it to create database for officers. The idea then was to be able to use the computer to locate where an officer is at any moment. We also used to generate report on officers, like the issues of retirement, courses attended, punishment, those due for promotion and even annual evaluation report. As for fighting crime with the assistance of the computer, we do have computerized crime data. If you want to know that black spots in Lagos, the computer will provide you with the map of all the areas. We call it crim- mapping. The computer will tell you how many men are in the field and in the office. We also have CCTV in some places but the major obstacle to computer-based crime fighting is funding. I have written a lot of memo on that, but the funding is the issue. But we are gradually getting there. Now, in all the commands we have a system in place where you can talk to the IGP or our colleagues in the communication room and we will be seeing ourselves. We have also computerized our finger print through the CCR. This is helping to check criminal activities.
What have been the challenges and success since you took over as CP Jigawa State?
Since I took over in March last year, we have done a lot in terms of strategy. We have devised a number of strategies to fight, prevent and control crime in the state. One of the strategies we adopted is raiding of black spots in the state and through that we have been able to arrest over 53 suspects in the last few months. The black spots are Gida Dubu, New market Yankifi, Fagoji, Rankoce, Garu Limawa rocks,Yan tipa, Danmasara plantation, Kudai,Kalgo Village River side and Rafin Sanyi. These constant raids have reduced crime seriously in the state.
But by far our biggest strategy is community policing. I am a force man but I don't really believe in the using force at all the time to fight crime. You see, we have been using force but crime has not reduced. So the present IGP encourages community policing. When I was posted to Jigawa he said he was not posting us to go and stay in the office. So, I have been very proactive since I assumed duty. I have organized meetings with all stakeholders in the state like the Emirs, Community leaders, Okada and taxi drivers associations, cultural groups, hoteliers, development unions and what have you. This partnership has helped me a lot to nip a lot of crime in the bud before they happen. For example, it was our partners in this community policing in Gumel local government that alerted us of an impending violent clash between the Shiitte Islamic sect and the Darika sect over the use of Gumel Central mosque. I quickly called the leaders of the two sects and we resolved the issue through dialogue. The same religious crisis was averted in Malam-Madori local government over the issue of the Imam of the Central mosque, which our community policing people told us and we resolved. Likewise, in Birnin-Kudu and even Hadeijia. Take the issue of Fulani-farmers clash that has been a problem in Jigawa, especially in Guri, Kirkasa and Birniwa area. In fact, there was a particular year that thirty five people from the same village were killed. Using the community policing strategy, I called the leaders of the farmers, the leaders of Miyeti-Allah, villages heads, ward heads, district heads and all the DPOs in Jigawa and we reached agreement on the mechanism of preventing the Fulani-farmer clash. They all have my number and even the numbers of my DPOs. In addition, I asked DPOs and Area Commanders to appoint Community Policing Officers whose duty is to liaise with the community. It has been useful in preventing Fulani and farmers clashes. Another very important strategy working for us in Jigawa is the inter-agency cooperation between all the security agencies. We also do a lot of intelligence gathering, stop and search, patrol at all times especially on Fridays when we do what we called show of force. Of course there are crimes being committed in Jigawa, but we have the lowest crime figures in the country.
Can you tell us briefly about yourself?
I was born in Omi,Yabga West local government area in Kogi State in 1954. I went to Sabon-Gida Primary School in Bida, Niger State in 1962 to 1969. I attended Niger Baptist College Minna from 1969 to 1974.I gained admission into the School of Basic Studies (SBS), Zaria in 1975. I graduated with B.Sc Mathematics and Computer from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 and I did my NYSC in Port Harcourt. I joined the Nigerian Police in 1980. I went to the Police Staff College Jos for training. I served in various formations. I establish the Police Computer Department. I got my promotions along that line I mean CSP Computer, SP and Assistant Commissioner Computer. When I returned from Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru in 2007, I was posted as Commissioner of Police Training at the Force headquarters and from there I was posted as CP Jigawa State.